Amidst a tearful crowd, Pope Benedict XVI led his final public mass on Wednesday at St. Peter's Basilica. He thanked those in the audience for their prayers. Breaking with tradition, he will retire this month to a life of prayer in a converted monastery. He will not play a role in the selection of his successor.
The No. 2 at the Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, appeared Tuesday to ease the church's absolute position on celibacy for Catholic priests. The issue continues to roil the church as it confronts revelations of sexual abuse.
Pope Benedict XVI said it's 'necessary to perform penance' in response to public outrage at revelations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. But some analysts say those hoping for change are up against a deeply conservative hierarchy.
The latest Catholic sex abuse scandals are confronting Pope Benedict with what one Catholic newspaper calls the "largest institutional crisis in centuries." In Germany, the church announced a hotline for victims of abuse. A summary of key cases that happened on Benedict's watch.
Recent attacks by a family-owned newspaper on the editor of a Catholic newspaper have angered the Vatican, something that could undermine his government's stability.