Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will abdicate his position on February 28.
During his papacy, Pope Benedict came under scrutiny for the Vatican's handling of sexual abuse by priests in the United States and throughout Europe. In 2011, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Survivor Network of Those Abused By Priests (SNAP) filed a case against the pontiff in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity in cover up by Vatican leadership in cases of sexual abuses of children by priests. David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP, told the Guardian "[Pope Benedict] has read thousands of pages of reports of the abuse cases from across the world. He knows more about clergy sex crimes and cover-ups than anyone else in the church yet he has done precious little to protect children."
The pontiff also promoted an explicitly anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-reproductive health agenda during his eight years as Pope. For example, he expressed conflicting views on the use of condoms in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. In 2010, Pope Benedict suggested that the use of condoms might be acceptable in certain circumstances, such as in disease prevention. However, in 2009, the pontiff argued that condoms "increase the problem" of HIV/AIDS. Reportedly, he said, "you can't overcome this problem of AIDS with just money. It helps, but if there is no soul, the money cannot help. You cannot overcome it just by distributing condoms. You will increase it."
In addition to ideological controversy, the Vatican came under financial scrutiny in 2012 when the Pope's personal butler released private documents of the pontiff in an attempt to expose the corruption of the church.
The Pope cited his advanced age as his reason for leaving the Vatican. He was elected to the position in 2005 follow the death of Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict will be the first Pope to resign since 1415 and the first to leave voluntarily since 1294.
Media Resources: Guardian 2/11/2013, 2/11/2013; Los Angeles Times 2/11/2013; ABC News 10/6/2012; Feminist Newswire 9/14/2011, 11/8/2010
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .