90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Pope Benedict Bows Out

Pope Benedict’s last day.  We’re looking at challenges for the Catholic Church and ahead to the conclave.

Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. (AP)

Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. (AP)

Last day today for Pope Benedict XVI.  The first pope is 600 years to leave his post alive.  To resign.  Abdicate.

At 8pm Rome time today, Benedict officially becomes Pope Emeritus.  Helicopters off to the papal Castel Gandolfo in the Italian hills.  His papal ring, the fisherman’s ring, will be smashed with a silver hammer.  The same hammer once used to tap a dead pope’s forehead – just to be sure.

The Catholic Church has been in stormy waters, Benedict said in his last St. Peter’s Square message.  Deeply true.  Now what?

This hour, On Point:  the Church and its leadership after Pope Benedict.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Rachel Donadio, Rome bureau chief for the New York Times. (@racheldonadio)

Thomas Groome, professor of theology and religious education and chair of the department of religious education and pastoral ministry at Boston College. Author of “Will There be Faith?: A New Vision for Educating and Growing Disciples.”

Robert P. George, he’s been called one of the country’s most influential conservative Christian Thinkers. He has advised and assisted Catholic bishops in the U.S. and in the Vatican on matters of bioethics, religious liberty, and church-state relations.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “In the waning hours of his troubled papacy, Pope Benedict XVI held his final general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, telling tens of thousands of believers in an unusually personal public farewell that his nearly eight years in office had known ‘moments of joy and light but also moments that were not easy’ when it seemed ‘the Lord was sleeping.'”

Los Angeles Times “They represent the region with more Roman Catholics than any other. And their to-do list for the next pope is a long one. Next month, 19 cardinals from Latin America will be among the 117 from around the world expected to be eligible to participate in the secret meetings to choose a replacement for Pope Benedict XVI.”

Pew Research Center “As the pontificate of Benedict XVI winds down, many American Catholics express a desire for change. For example, most U.S. Catholics say it would be good if the next pope allows priests to marry. And fully six-in-ten Catholics say it would be good if the next pope hails from a developing region like South America, Asia, or Africa.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 17, 2014
Germany's Andre Schuerrle, left, celebrates scoring his side's 6th goal as Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar reacts during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.  Germany went on to win the World Cup championship later that month. (AP)

From the Sochi Olympics and Ray Rice to Lebron’s return to Cleveland, we’ll unpack a big year in sports.

 
Dec 17, 2014
Relatives of a victim of a Taliban attack in a school, mourn over her lifeless body at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months. (AP)

The Taliban take responsibility for killing more than 100 Pakistani schoolchildren. We ask why there, why now.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment
 
Quinn Sullivan, LIVE In Our Studio
Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014

Fifteen-year old Quinn Sullivan is a humble, “ordinary” high school sophomore. But he’s also a blues guitar phenom. He brought his talents to the On Point studio today.

More »
Comment