Sydney

Australian cardinal says Benedict has set bad precedent

Could lead to campaigns against future popes, says George Pell

Australian cardinal says Benedict has set bad precedent

(see related stories) Sydney, February 28 - The Archbishop of Sydney George Pell has criticised Benedict's XVI's decision to step down as pope, saying it sets a dangerous precedent. "People who, for example, might disagree with a future pope will mount a campaign to get him to resign," Pell, who is one of the cardinals who will elect Benedict's successor at the upcoming conclave, told ABC radio. "He was well aware that this is a break with tradition (and) slightly destabilizing. "But he felt that because of his weakness and sickness, which was only too evident today, that he didn't have the strength to lead the church in these demanding times. "He's as aware, as I am, of the slight change to the tradition" Pell described the outgoing pope as a "brilliant teacher", but added that "government wasn't his strongest point". The Australian cardinal cited the example of the VatiLeaks scandal, which saw Benedict's butler convicted of leaking confidential Church documents to the media, before he was pardoned late last year. "He has to know his theology, but I think I prefer somebody who can lead the church and pull it together a bit," Pell said of the next pope.

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