After only seven years as Head of the Catholic Church, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is an astonishing news. This may be a message on how Globalization affects such global organization. The election of Pope Benedict XVI followed all the rules of the Church but did not listen to the “new” rules imposed by globalization: which include good advertisement, global awareness, and above all intercultural appealing to standards of ‘universal friendliness and empathy’, among others. I wrote an article titled “Parishes Fail to Market Catholicism to Hispanics (pdf available here)” (National Catholic Reporter, Vol. 43, No. 12 2007) discussing how the Catholic Church has failed to Market Catholicism among Hispanics.
Benedict XVI was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005. Today, February 11, 2013, Benedict announced that he would resign the papacy, effective February 28, due to age and ill health.
His health may be have been an issue. However, it seems to me that the real problem started when the Papal conclave of 2005 elected him above the other contestants for the Pope position without taking notice of all the changes that institution has gone through centuries.
Currently, Catholics are 17.77% of the total population in Africa, 63.10% in the Americas, 3.05% in Asia, 39.97% in Europe, 26.21% in Oceania and 17.09% of the world population. (Further information: Catholicism by country)
Globalization is slowly forcing them to adapt to this new demographics and the election of a Latin American (a Mediterranean look would suffice) or African Pope could bring some new Fresh air to this archaic institution. The Latin America region already represents 42 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion-strong Catholic population, the largest single block in the Church, compared to 25 percent in its European heartland.
In 2005 among the “popeable” (one who might become pope) where also the cardinals Carlo Maria Martini, who died last year and obtained 40 votes in the first ballot versus the popular Italian cardinal Camillo Ruini who also was a contestant for the position in that initial ballot. Cardinal Ruini has been very active in the mass media and was one of the cardinals who most often appeared on Italian television, newspapers and magazines. I would suppose that his election as a new Pope in the Conclave of cardinals that will choose the next pope in mid-March is very high. Camilo Ruini is very popular among the “Reformer” side of the Catholic Church as the news inform (he is also more photogenic and could appeal to the Hispanic followers easily).
Lets see what happens in March, 2013 with the new Papal Conclave. Meanwhile, I share with you a documentary on the new face of this Eurocentric organization that is finally (slowly) changing its own look!