Unbelievable news – Pope Benedict XVI resigns February 11, 2013Posted by tantamergo in abdication of duty, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, scandals.
Wow. Quite a stunner, huh? A few incoherent thoughts:
I’d be lying if I said I’m not a bit scandalized by this. There are no indications Pope Benedict has any particularly grave illness, other than old age. Very, very surprising. Interestingly, I just had lunch with a friend late last week who indicated he didn’t particularly pray for a long pontificate for Benedict XVI – I do, because from what I can tell, almost all the alternatives out there are likely to be much less orientated towards the restoration of the Faith. Pope Benedict was a man of many internal contradictions, like we all are, I suppose, but if you look back over the past 30 years, the nascent restoration of the Faith has been almost entirely a one man show. Certainly, the restoration of the Faith has been the work of the Holy Spirit, but for the Holy Spirit to work, He must find a sould to cooperate with Grace. That soul has almost invariably been Pope Benedict XVI.
So many things are amazing, surprising about this. Pope Benedict will be one of only one or possibly two other popes to have truly voluntarilty resigned (there were some rather unvoluntarily “resignations” during the terrible period for the Papacy from ~850 – 1050 or so). He’s leaving during the great year of faith, which is not coincidentally also 50th anniversary “celebrations” of Vatican II (aka the last big push to canonize the Council). He’s leaving without resolving the SSPX situation to even a slight degree, something he expended tremendous energy on. In fact, so many of Pope Benedict’s top priorities – liturgical reform, re-centering catachesis on Truth instead of worldly concerns, many more – are being abandoned, in essence, in a quite nascent stage of development. I find that surprising, I thought these things meant enough to Pope Benedict to continue on in the Papacy until God determined it was over.
That’s another aspect – as the Pope himself has said, the essence of religious life is obedience. In essence, God revealed His Will when Pope Benedict was elected. Is this resignation a shirking of that Will? Every Pope for the past 600 years has died in office. They, too, experienced decays in their abilities to function to varying degrees, although some died suddenly. It seems a bit of a rebuke of his calling to resign.
It is disheartening – if not downright disgusting – to countenance Cardinal Mahony voting in this conclave. But, I guess he voted in the last one. Crikey.
As to the Pope’s successor – hoo boy, won’t that be interesting. “Conservatives” have held the Papacy for 35 years……will there be a feeling that it’s time for a change? Ouellet is being named. But nobody really knows, these things rarely go the way the prognosticators predict. Few predicted Benedict, fewer still JPII. I guess we’ll know in a month or so.
In the interim, great focus on prayer would seem very advisable. Prayer for the new Pope, and old.
Won’t it be passing strange to have a living, retired pontiff hanging around the Vatican? I think that’s going to lead to all kinds of complications. Every time the new Pope does something, it will be compared with his still living predecessor. Yikes…….that could get messy. In fact, it could prove to be a nightmare should Pope Benedict live for many years. What if he outlives his successor? Can he then take part in even the conclave following that?
One more thought – I must wonder how much this resignation has to do with Pope Benedict’s own very apparent sense of frustration at not being able to get his will implemented in the Church. The Pope has been quoted as pointing at the door of his “office” and saying “my authority stops there,” meaning, he can’t get much if anything done in the Church outside his papal apartments. I wonder if the timing has anything to do with +Muller’s seeming rebuke of the man who appointed him – the Holy Father – over this long running battle with the former pontifical university in Lima, Peru. Perhaps Pope Benedict was really, really looking for a junior version of himself for the CDF head, and so went with a German he thought he could trust. Pope Benedict has waged a serious war agaisnt liberation theology for the past 30 years – he really, totally opposes it. I guess he thought – or was convincingly told – that Muller’s attachment to liberation theology was slight, at best. Oops. It appears it’s much more than that. I’m not saying this would be the decisive issue, but perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Who knows! Just my wild ramblings.