Benedict’s decision to resign the papacy is being blamed on his age – nearly 86 – and his health – never robust. He might just as well have been diagnosed with a broken papal heart.
Because his nearly eight years on the Throne of the Fisherman never really produced the results he hoped for. He did not unite the conservative and progressive wings of the Catholic Church. He did not re-establish its place in Europe, the work of a previous Pope Benedict and the reason he took that name. Nor did he expand its foothold in Asia, cement its dominance in Latin America, or make serious inroads in Africa. And he did not bring to fruition the ecumenical understanding with other major faiths that he hoped would bloom during his reign.