Sensible old Cardinal Arinze shares his surprise at the Pope's abdication.
The Pope's brother, who is often almost indiscreet, has also been sharing his thoughts too.
It seems as if he is blaming the butler and the lack of reconcilliation with the SSPX as being reasons for his brother's departure. I think the betrayal by a close servant must have been deeply hurtful to the Pope but it is more that this was the result of the factionalism in the Vatican that has been problematical, the strife between the camps of the present Secretary of State and his predecessor Cardinal Sodano which has acted as a drag anchor on Pope Benedict's Papacy.
Again, I suspect the reference to the SSPX is more what is symbolised by the failure to reconcile them, rather than the actual failure itself. For Benedict their reconciliation symbolised the success of his programme to reconcile the post-VII Church with the pre-VII Church, the idea of "hermeneutic of continuity".
There isn't really an obvious "Liberal" faction in the Curia, what there is are the Conservatives, those who had great influence under JPII, who certainly see VII as both a break with the past and yet continuity - which they themselves defined - in many ways they are the authors of the Spirit of VII. They certainly would not want reconciliation with the SSPX, if of course the SSPX actually want it themselves, it seems increasingly as if they want to remain exactly where they are, not quite in or out of Communion.
I really do not think we should regard the Pope's abdication as a failure but rather an honest admission that he has done a great deal but now it is time for a younger man, he has planted, someone else will reap. I am sure that Pope Benedict will remain silent and retire to his cloister but I am intrigued by what the Pope's brother will do and say, will he be tempted to nudge the media a little?
I am told that there is great deal of flurry in the Vatican at the moment, John XXIII when asked how many people worked in the Vatican, replied, "About half", well it seems as if that half are trying to get things that should have happened year ago done in the next few days.