Veteran Vatican Reporter on Pope's Reasons for Retirement

"The Vatican Diaries" author, John Thavis, on possible motives behind Benedict XVI's departure.
2:57 | 02/28/13

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Transcript for Veteran Vatican Reporter on Pope's Reasons for Retirement
And I'm back here in rome, now, with john thavis. Long-time vatican journalist. And a brand-new book called "the vatican diaries." Very good timing. It's filled with so much detail. I was struck by the word you use to describe pope benedict's mission. You said to decontaminate the church. I think a lot of pope benedict's pontificate has been rereading the second vatican council. That was the landmark assembly that really set the church's direction for the last 60 years. And I think benedict had some critical things to say. I think he did not like the direction the church took in terms of liturgy. He did not like some of the changes he saw men and women were acting. He did not like the way some of the catholic faithful were approaching church teaching. And I think fundamentally, he saw the church adopting too much the ways of the world. At the same time, so much of his papacy, still shadowed by scandal. Some suggestion here in the italian press, he decided to retire after getting a report on the various scandals. He did get a report last december. And all we know is he had commissioned three cardinals to investigate, number one, how leaks occurred under his pontificate. And number two, what was the terrain here in the roman curia that allowed that to happen? What were the fundamental reasons? We don't know what was in that report. Only pope benedict had seen it. When that happens, journalists tend to project very imanative scenios. We've seen one scenario that's been floated in the press, that there must be a gay cabal in the vatican. I'm skeptical. We would have known about it before. This is a bold move, the decision to retire. How do you think it will impact those cardinals who are going to decide who the next pope should be? I think it could have a chain reaction effect. There are cardinals and those here in the vatican who have seen this as traumatic. They want someone who will take the church back to the normal. Someone who will do things in familiar ways. But there's others here in the vatican who have an appetite for change. And in their view, the cardinals should catch the spirit of pope benedict's gesture and do something bold themselves. This could mean a number of simple changes in church governance. I sat down with a vatican official last week. He outlined in a few strokes, how the pope could really revolutionize the papacy. The next pope, that is. He could bring in his whole, new team. He could start having weekly cabinet-style meetings, to make sure the managers are all on the same page. As I wrote in my book, that doesn't happen now. And that's one of the root causes of the controversies. Makes for a modern papacy. Thanks very much. "The vatican diaries" is on sale now.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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