By Rachel Donadio
The New York Times
February 13, 2013
VATICAN CITY - Just days after Pope Benedict XVI returned from a 2010 trip to Britain where he met the queen and mended fences with the Anglicans, prosecutors in Rome impounded $30 million from the Vatican Bank in an investigation linked to money laundering.
In May, soon after the pope made an address on the priesthood, chastising those who sought to stretch the church's rules and calling for "radical obedience," Vatican gendarmes arrested Benedict's butler on charges of theft after a tell-all book appeared, based on stolen confidential documents detailing profound mismanagement and corruption inside the Vatican.
Benedict had hoped that his papacy would rekindle the Catholic faith in Europe and compel Catholics to forge bonds between faith and reason, as he so loved to do.
But after a seemingly endless series of scandals, the 85-year-old who so ably enforced doctrine for his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, seemingly came to understand that only a new pope, one with far greater energies than he, could lead a global church and clean house inside the hierarchy at its helm. In the end, Vatican experts said, he decided he could best serve the church by resigning, a momentous decision with far-reaching implications that are still not fully understood.