GateHouse News Service's weekly Religion News, with tips on the pope's plans for reitrement, the countries with the most Catholics, and the religious makeup of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Week in Religion


In the pope's final public address Wednesday, Benedict XVI said his papacy had "many days of sunshine," but also "times when the water was rough ... and the Lord seemed to sleep," according to CNN. He continued the seafaring metaphor, stating that though the Catholic Church may go through stormy seas, God will not "let her sink."


In the past week, more information has been revealed about what life will be like for a former pope. Benedict will still be referred to as "his holiness" and will hold the title of pope emeritus. He will reside in the Mater Ecclesiae building in the Vatican gardens, which was formerly a residence for cloistered nuns tasked with praying for the pope. His Twitter handle, @pontifex, will be retired. Benedict has announced he plans to devote his life to prayer, and there is speculation he will continue writing. His last book published was "Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives" in November 2012.


Survey Says


According to a new poll on Catholicism by the Pew Research Center, the U.S. has the fourth largest contingent of Catholics in the world. Here are the top 10 countries in terms of number of Catholics:


1. Brazil


2. Mexico


3. Philippines


4. United States


5. Italy


6. Colombia


7. France


8. Poland


9. Spain


10. Democratic Republic of the Congo


Good Book?


"The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation" by Jon M. Sweeney


The riveting story of Pope St. Celestine V, the pope who retired from the papacy and released Feb. 14, 2012, almost a year to the day before Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation.


At the close of the tumultuous Middle Ages, there lived a man who seemed destined from birth to save the world. His name was Peter Morrone, a hermit, a founder of a religious order, and, depending on whom you talk to, a reformer, an instigator, a prophet, a coward, a saint, and possibly the victim of murder. A stroke of fate would, practically overnight, transform this humble servant of God into the most powerful man in the Catholic Church. Half a year later, he would be the first pope in history to abdicate the chair of St. Peter, an act that nearly brought the papacy to its knees. What led him to make that decision and what happened afterward would be shrouded in mystery for centuries. "The Pope Who Quit" pulls back the veil of secrecy on this dramatic time in history and showcases a story that involves deadly dealings, apocalyptic maneuverings, and papal intrigue.


-- Amazon.com


Quote of the Week


"There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it." - George Bernard Shaw


Religions Around the World


Religious makeup of Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to CIA World Factbook:


Muslim: 40 percent


Orthodox: 31 percent


Roman Catholic: 15 percent


Other: 14 percent


GateHouse News Service