Robert Mickens, the longtime Rome correspondent for The Tablet, a U.K.-based Catholic newspaper, sees many of the scandals and bureaucratic flubs as indications that the church must modernize itself.
"The church as it exists today is anachronistic," he
"It's an absolute monarchy in the 21st century, with a bureaucracy with roots that date back to the fourth or fifth century.
It must be thoroughly reformed."
Not only do the matters threaten to darken Benedict's legacy, but they dramatically increase the difficulties facing his
"The recent spate of problems is going to leave the next pope with the greatest challenges since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council
said, referring to the three-year process undertaken in the mid-Sixties to update the way the church related to the world.
says the Italians might be better equipped to overhaul the church's administrative apparatus, known as the powerful Roman curia, which was relatively unsupervised under Benedict.
Italians dominate the curia in terms of membership numbers, and its administrative style, language and decision-making process is decidedly Italian.
"The curia can reflect the best and worst aspects of Italy, and there is a belief that it could take an Italian to understand it and reform it," Mickens