In many regards my goodbye salute to Pope Benedict XVI is to be found in my book, "The Pope's War: How Ratzinger's Crusade Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved," where I put the past 42 years of the papacy in perspective. There I catalog his unenviable track record of killing theology and silencing 105 theologians.
History will remember Benedict for bringing back the Inquisition and emasculating the great Christ-like movement of Liberation Theology and for ignoring for decades the facts of priestly pedophilia. After all, the buck stopped at his desk as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and he was apparently too busy to address that horrible reality since he was so preoccupied with playing the 20th century Torquemada, hounding and silencing the voices of justice, generosity, intelligence and creativity among theologians and pastoral leaders.
The lack of conscience in the yes-men Benedict and Pope John Paul II appointed to positions of decision-making means that Catholics should not be holding their breath expecting the Holy Spirit to elect a decent leader. The church as we know it is finished and that is a blessing in itself.
The Holy Spirit expects us to move beyond Imperial Religion to the essence of Jesus' teachings: Do it to the least of these and you do it to Me.
I hear people speculating whether the HBO documentary that finally laid out the horrors of Ratzinger's neglect around priestly pedophilia is what finally did Benedict in. One would hope so. That, plus the sordid news emanating from the Los Angeles diocese where he deliberately chose an Opus Dei bishop to head that largest diocese in the world. His choice revealed for all to see where his ecclesial allegiance truly lies: in a secret and fascist organization that holds power not only in the church but in great swaths of the American media, the Supreme Court and more today (for full documentation on this point, see "The Pope's War").
It's time to move from religion to spirituality.