Farewell To Pope Benedict XVI, Supporter Of Twitter, iPad Apps And Genetically Modified Crops

Yes, he's been a flawed leader. But the departing pope was a champion of future technologies and the possibilities they offer humanity.

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Click to launch the photo gallery_

Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down at the end of this month, the first pontiff to willingly leave his post in more than six centuries. His decision sent shock waves through the Catholic community Monday, in no small part because this just isn’t done. Popes die in office, they don’t step aside. But the former Joseph Ratzinger, 85, said he is leaving because “I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise” of papal duties.

Vatican leadership will now mobilize to elect a new Pope, in one of the oldest and most secretive processes in western civilization. They will have to replace a man who has shown an impressive–especially in terms of Catholic leadership–grasp of the possibilities science, technology and the future can offer us. And no, it’s not because he looks a lot like Emperor Palpatine. [Excuse me while I make the sign of the cross]

Click through our slideshow to see how Benedict XVI embraced science and technology during his eight-year papacy.