I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. It's almost Valentine's Day and we realize that, along with the avalanche of pink hearts and stuff, there's also an avalanche of questions at this time of year from whether it's OK to romance by text message to how do you decide who pays for dinner to how to figure out whether you're in love or just, you know, stuck in the friend zone.
When Pope Benedict XVI steps down at the end of the month, he will be remembered for his efforts to strengthen the Catholic Church's core beliefs and for his powerful and eloquent encyclicals, but also for a mixed record in handling the sexual abuse scandal.
The first German pope in a thousand years is a cold, distant intellectual who never served as a parish priest. Cardinal Ratzinger, the Vatican Enforcer, became Pope Benedict XVI. As successor to John Paul II, Benedict was never as beloved by the faithful but still attracted crowds matching those of his media-savvy predecessor.
And this is the day of the week when we normally talk to our MORNING EDITION contributor Cokie Roberts about politics. This morning, though, politics and the runup to the president's State of the Union Address tomorrow have been overshadowed by the news out of Rome.
So we've asked Cokie, a longtime Vatican watcher, to weigh in on the announcement that Pope Benedict is resigning at the end of this month.