- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2013

Benedict is stepping down “out of love for the church and her needs, much as he began his papacy with a focus on love, [titling] his first encyclical ‘God is Love,’” said Maureen Ferguson, senior policy adviser of the Catholic Association.

The announcement also sparked comments about what other big changes could be afoot.

“Imagine the shock waves — and the hope — that would be generated if, in his waning days, the pontiff demoted, disciplined, or defrocked even a handful of bishops who are concealing child-sex crimes. And imagine the deterrent that would be to present and future cover-ups,” said Barbara Dorris, outreach coordinator for Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests.

The Women’s Ordination Conference, an advocacy group that supports allowing women to become priests, said they would be praying for the ailing pope. But they criticized his “steps backward” for women in the church and promised to raise “pink smoke” during the papal conclave.

But traditional Catholics were also prepared to fight for Benedict’s legacy.

“The idiocy already begins,” Mr. Ruse said, referring to such comments. “No doubt, the hard left will be circling around the papacy in the days and weeks to come.”