(Vatican Radio) 2012 has drawn to a close and it's traditionally the time to take
stock and look back at the past 12 months to revisit some of the main events and highlights
of the year for Pope Benedict and the Vatican. John Allen is senior correspondent
for the National Catholic Reporter in the U.S. and is one of the world's best known
commentators on Vatican and Church affairs. Vatican Radio's Susy Hodges asked him
for his take on how 2012 has been for the Pope.
Listen to the extended interview
with John Allen:
there is always plenty of drama and newsworthy events within the Vatican and the past
year was no exception. "Being Pope you never have a dull year and 2012 was proof
Among the main events and highlights of the past year, Allen points
to the Pope's "extraordinarily successful trip" to Lebanon, the launch of his Twitter
account, the Synod of Bishops for the New Evangelisation and the "painful and embarassing"
Vatileaks scandal. He says the papal visit to Lebanon was used to express "solidarity
and support" for the "imperilled" Christian communities throughout the Middle East
and although seen as "a very challenging trip" beforehand it went off remarkably well.
Commenting on Pope Benedict's Twitter debut, Allen says the Pope "is trying
to set an example for evangelisers everywhere" within the Church to use all the modern
communications tools at their disposal. Similarly, the Synod of Bishops this October
was trying "to re-ignite the missionary fires of the Church" in the modern age.
When asked how damaging he believed the Vatileaks scandal was, Allen says
although this event was "painful and embarassing" the flipside is that "scandal tends
to breed reform. "In 2012," he continues, "we saw Pope Benedict moving the ball
in important ways towards greater financial transparency and accountability, in particular
inside the Vatican itself. As he sees it, the Vatileaks scandal "created and added
to the momentum for a kind of financial glasnost within the Holy See which Benedict
XVI has been trying to engineer."
The end of 2012 saw the publication of Pope
Benedict's third book in his Jesus of Narareth series and Allen says these books are
further evidence that the Pope's "real passion is in the teaching dimension" of his
office: "I think in the long run of history, he's going to be remembered as a great