Pope Benedict XVI was a conservative pope, who pushed the Catholic Church backwards in his eight years as the pope. He will be mostly known for being the first pontiff to step down in 600 years, but I hope he will also be remembered for the evils that he stood for, and never had to face the consequences of.
Pope Benedict XVI was involved in covering up the massive child abuse happening in the Catholic Church, both as the Pope, and before then, when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Archbishop of Munich and Freising. He also fought against women’s right to choose, and against same-sex marriage.
He followed Karol Wojtyła, Pope John Paul II, who also was deeply conservative, and was lucky enough to die before the Catholic Churches organized cover-ups of child abuse was widely known. He helped Pope John Paul II implement/confirm the conservative politics that the Catholic Church is known for today. As the Guardian writes:
In doctrinal terms, Benedict spent his time in charge tweaking the legacy of the 27 years of the Polish pontiff. The conservative settlement that John Paul had imposed, with Cardinal Ratzinger’s able and unswerving assistance, on the great theological battles that had followed the reforming second Vatican council of the 1960s remained fundamentally undisturbed during Benedict’s reign. The victories already achieved in the last decades of the 20th century over more liberal Catholic voices over questions of sexual morality, clerical celibacy, the place of women and religious freedom were, as far as Benedict was concerned, secure. His pontificate, then, is best seen as an extended postscript to the one that had gone before.
My only regret about his death, is that he never had to answer for his actions in the past.