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http://www.spiegel.de/international/euro...38830.html

This is an interesting article on the pope
Boy, I would not like to be profiled by these Germans.

Some of the better bits from the article:

Der Spiegel Wrote:The Vatican is disintegrating into dozens of competing interest groups. In the past, it was the Jesuits, the Benedictines, the Franciscans and other orders that competed for respect and sway within the Vatican court. But their influence has waned, and they have now been replaced primarily by the so-called "new clerical communities" that bring the large, cheering crowds to Masses celebrated by the pope: the Neocatechumenate, the Legionaries of Christ and the traditionalists of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter -- not to mention the worldwide "santa mafia" of Opus Dei.

They all have their open and clandestine agents in and around the Vatican, and they all own real estate and run universities, institutes and other educational facilities in Rome. Various cardinals and bishops champion their interests at the Vatican, often without an official or recognizable mandate. At the Vatican, everyone is against everyone, and everyone feels they have God on their side.

Perhaps Benedict XVI simply knows the Vatican too well to seriously attempt to reform it.

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Benedict doesn't need the Vatican; he needs a small family. Family is sacred to him, and it's something he has always sought throughout his life. The only surviving member of his family is his older brother, Georg. His father, Joseph, died in 1959 and his mother, Maria, in 1963. His sister, Maria, ran his household for about 30 years, even in Rome, until her death in 1991. When she died, he wrote in his memoirs: "The world became a little emptier for me."

For Ratzinger, all of these issues remain unresolved. At the World Meeting of Families held in Milan in early June, he responded to questions about family in an ad hoc and unscripted manner. "Hi, pope," a 7-year-old girl said to him. "I am Cat Tien. I come from Vietnam. I would really like to know something about your family and when you were little like me." The 85-year-old Benedict replied: "To tell the truth, if I try to imagine a little how paradise will be, I think always of the time of my youth, of my childhood. In this context of confidence, of joy and love, we were happy, and I think that paradise must be something like how it was in my youth."

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He has annoyed the Protestants by declaring that denominations other than his own are not true churches. He has alienated Muslims with an inept speech in the Bavarian city of Regensburg. And he has insulted Jews by reinserting a prayer for the conversion of the Jews into the Good Friday liturgy.

He has also snubbed the Church by currying favor with the traditionalists of the Society of St. Pius X, which rejects the Vatican II reforms. The current backlog of Church reforms, which had already started piling up under his conservative predecessor, John Paul II, has only gotten bigger under Benedict. The Catholics' Day held in May in the southwestern German city of Mannheim, with its 80,000 attendees, was a last cry for change in the Church.

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Benedict has always seen himself as a teaching rather than a governing pontiff. The professor-pope from the small Bavarian village of Marktl am Inn will undoubtedly not go down in the annals of Church history as Benedict the Great.

But he will be remembered as a church leader with a human face, as someone who has remained true to himself as a theologian, and as someone who turned his back on the power within his own four walls. In other words, as a pope with a lower-case p.

There's also some stuff on the "Vatileaks" scandal and the Curia.
If it is true that Rome (The Vatican ) is falling apart as this article says (and i'm far from convinced it's that bad) then this is the time when the prophecies of Our Lady of La Salette are taking place.