Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

Benedict retires with Vatican under cloud

VATICAN CITY — As the sun set on Rome and on his turbulent eight-year papacy, Pope Benedict XVI, a shy theologian who never seemed entirely at home in the limelight, was whisked by helicopter into retirement Thursday.

But while Benedict, 85, retires to a life of prayer, study, walks in the garden and piano practice, he leaves in his wake a Vatican hierarchy facing scandals and intrigue that are casting a shadow over the cardinals entrusted with electing his successor in a conclave this month.

Even as he met with the cardinals on his final day as pope, pledging "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor and urging the cardinals to "work like an orchestra" harmonizing for the good of the church, the discord was apparent.

On Thursday, the Vatican confirmed reports that it had ordered wiretaps on the phones of some Vatican officials as part of a leaks investigation. Other cardinals were increasingly outspoken about the crisis of governance during Benedict's papacy.

That failing is expected to be much in the cardinals' minds as they begin meeting informally Monday to discuss the state of the papacy and determine when to start the conclave, which could be as soon as next week.

In his final blessing to the faithful gathered outside the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo where he will live for several months, Benedict appeared tired, and even relieved, saying that from now on "I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth."

His predecessor, John Paul II, wasted away with Parkinson's disease; Benedict, whose life's work was aimed at reconciling faith and reason, opted for a short farewell.

Earlier, thousands of people stood in a hushed St. Peter's Square, forming half-moon crowds around giant video screens showing the pope's departure. Many looked up and waved as his helicopter circled the square.

"Viva il Papa!" several shouted. One banner read simply, in German, "Danke!!!"

Katie Martin, 29, an aspiring firefighter from Manhattan Beach, Calif., said she delayed her visit to Rome by a week to witness the historic event.

"I love my faith," she said. "I love my church. I have a great love for the Holy Father."

Martin said she was sad to see Benedict's papacy end.

His critics say that on his watch, the Vatican suffered a profound crisis of governance. On Thursday, Panorama magazine reported that the Vatican Secretariat of State had ordered wiretaps on the phones of several Vatican prelates as part of an investigation into the scandal in which confidential documents were leaked to the news media and the author of a tell-all book.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Thursday that magistrates of the Vatican "might have authorized some wiretaps or some checks," but nothing on a significant scale.

The idea of "an investigation that creates an atmosphere of fear of mistrust that will now affect the conclave has no foundation in reality," he said.

Earlier this week, he said that the pope decided that a dossier on the leaks affair compiled by three cardinals would be shown only to the cardinals entering the conclave.

Although Benedict has said that he is retiring "freely and for the good of the church," leaving its guidance to someone younger and stronger than he, the scandals have weighed on the cardinals. Vatican experts also say that the very notion that a pope can retire is bound to condition the voting.

In one of his concluding acts Thursday, Benedict addressed more than 100 cardinals who will elect his successor.

He told them: "Among you is also the future pope, whom I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience."

Comments
Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68

Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68

Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and intellectual provocateur who championed the muscular foreign policy of neoconservatism that helped lay the ideological groundwork for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

More than a year ago, Kevin Knox II stepped across the stage at the Straz Center to receive his high school diploma.On Thursday, the former Tampa Catholic standout was on basketball's biggest stage as he fulfilled his lifelong goal of playing in the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start the upcoming season likely means that the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for three crucial games.Fitzpatrick stepped in as a starter for three games last year when W...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Three-game suspension looms for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

Three-game suspension looms for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

TAMPA — The Bucs will open the upcoming season without the face of their franchise, as quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended three games by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy.Winston, 24, was accused of groping a ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

His name was Berry and berry was his passion — the strawberry that put his beloved Plant City on the map.Alfred "Al" Berry was born with the name, but he took on his role as chief promoter of Plant City through his four decades of work with the commu...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

FORT LAUDERDALE — Authorities in Florida have arrested a suspect in the killing of rising rap star XXXTentacion, who was fatally shot in his luxury BMW electric car as he left an upscale motorcycle dealership.Dedrick Devonshay Williams, 22, of Pompan...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Pete police: Three lieutenants lied about their work hours

St. Pete police: Three lieutenants lied about their work hours

ST. PETERSBURG — Three lieutenants responsible for supervising the police officers who patrol the city were found to have been faking their work hours instead of showing up for duty on time.In some cases, the watch commanders submitted time sheets st...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Updated: 2 hours ago