Assessing Pope Benedict XVI and what lies ahead for the Catholic Church

What will history make of Pope Benedict XVI and what lies ahead for the Catholic Church? SMU experts can provide insight

Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican Thursday, February 28, after announcing his decision to step down some 17 days before. As he departed by helicopter, onlookers in St. Peter’s Square cheered, church bells rang and people stood on rooftops waving flags.

But what will history make of his papacy and what lies ahead for the Catholic Church? SMU experts, who were interviewed at the time of the announcement, can provide insight:

  Charles Curran
Charles Curran
Professor Charles Curran, an expert on the role of the Catholic Church as a moral and political actor in society, described Pope Benedict was more of a scholar and said of the cardinals next selection: "I think they might want someone who runs a tighter ship at this stage of the game." See a video interview.
  William B. Lawrence, Dean of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University
William Lawrence
Professor William Lawrence, dean of SMU Perkins School of Theology, noted the various scandals during this papacy and said: "The next pope, when he occupies the seat of Peter, will find a large pile of troubling files dumped into his lap."
  Matthew Wilson
Matthew Wilson
Professor Matthew Wilson, specializes in the politics and voting behavior of religious voters, said of Pope Benedict: "He also combined (a) scholarly erudition, which he clearly had as a trained theologian, with a real humility. He definitely perceived himself as being incredibly graced and honored with the office of the papacy. But he also remained a steadfast champion of orthodoxy."

To arrange an interview with these or other SMU experts, contact SMU News and Communications at 214-768-7650 or  


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