He leaves behind a church that is deeply conflicted, both with itself and with the outside world.That is an understatement ... it not only looks out of touch; it is out of touch. This pope, perhaps more that his predecessor, sees the writing on the wall and doesn't quite know how to cope with the change. One can only hope that the church he leads is beginning to see the necessity of change also. It's spent so much time establishing itself as an earthly power that it's forgotten that it's true charge is to spiritual. Those two things are often juxtaposed to each other rather than paired.
The church is facing massive cultural and demographic changes. Its staunch positions against contraception and the ordination of women make it look out of touch in a changing world. [http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/editorials/article/Pope-Benedict-s-act-of-wisdom-4270157.php]
In just over two weeks time, there will be another conclave and another papal election. It will be the first time in 600 years that the previous pope will be alive to see that vote and change occur. I wonder what his influence would be? Who would he support to be pope after him? What direction would he council? or perhaps will he council?
What a time we inhabit!