So, sure, the Pope….
Woke up Monday morning, checked e-mail. At the top was from the e-mail list from the USCCB. Title was “papal resignation” – just like that. No caps. I thought, “??” Assumed it was some test run or that the item was a FAQ in answer to some hypotheticals. Then a couple more down the list was from Ann..then saw I had a text from her…What??
Well, since no one else has commented on this, let me just say..
This is one of those situations in which the only thing we know for sure is that we don’t know everything. I think it’s fairly pointless to spend a lot of time on speculating why Benedict did this instead of exploring what it means for the papacy in general and looking to the future. That said..
- As many have pointed out, Pope Benedict has spoken of a papal resignation/renunciation/abdication as a theoretical possibility. His writings on the papacy are characterized by a broad and deep historical awareness as well as a servanthood model. Although he is routinely and unjustly accused of inflexibility, his thought and his view of human existence, including human existence in the Church, is marked by an emphasis on freedom – the freedom that is the disciple’s, united to the loving heart of Christ.
- My long-distant, barely informed opinion is that this is about: the Curia, the demands of the papacy in the 21st century and his sense of his own strength. He saw what happened in John Paul II’s declining years and one of my guesses is that he is seeking to diminish the chances of similar scenarios in the event of his own decline. Given current standards of medical care, even an 86-year old man could have a terribly debilitating health catastrophe, be alive but incommunicado for a very long time…and what then?
- There are countless other currents and issues. Some claim that this is quite dire and marks a defeat for the Pope’s program of mending the breach between the Church’s past and present and refocusing us all on Christ. Some say the opposite – that in doing this, Benedict has rather slyly pulled the rug out from under the feet of those in the Curia who don’t share his vision – by denying them the opportunity to increase their power if he falls into a weakened state, especially for a long period of time. Who knows? Perhaps it is none of this, some of it or all of it.
- Perhaps it is much simpler than we know.
Anyway. There is no lack of thoughtful commentary out there. No lack of stupid, ignorant commentary, either, shockingly. I’m just hesitant to put a lot of energy into attempting it since every day brings a new twist – the Holy Father’s quite candid talk to Rome priests today, for example – and because I know I don’t know anything, really.
Over his nearly eight years of pontificate, Benedict XVI has been resolute and farsighted in indicating the destinations and keeping the rudder straight. But on the barque of Peter, the crew has not always been faithful to him.
This is what happened when he dictated a rigorous line of conduct in order to fight the scandal of pedophilia among the clergy, clashing with hypocritical and delayed implementations..
The same thing happened when he ordered cleanliness and transparency in ecclesiastical financial offices, seeing these disregarded.
This is what happened when he saw himself betrayed by his trusted butler, who violated his privacy and stole his most personal papers.
But there is more than that. Pope Ratzinger has fought first of all and above all to revive the faith of the Church, to correct its waywardness in doctrine, morality, the sacraments, and the commandments. And here as well he has often found himself alone, opposed, misunderstood.
It has been, in short, an incomplete reform that Benedict XVI has pursued. In resigning, he has recognized that he can no longer move it forward with his diminished strength. And he has trusted the conclave to elect a new pope with the strength necessary to do the job.
His is a supernatural wager that recalls that of his predecessor John Paul in the last painful years of his life.
I’m going to miss him. A lot.
Every time my skeptical mind would start running in circles about something or other, usually a look at something by Joseph Ratzinger would give me a welcome pause, redirect my thinking and root me in that sense of open, sure faith in the love of God and heart of Jesus Christ.
We always talk about “pray for the Pope.” “Pray for the Holy Father,” we say. “Pray for his intentions.”
Do you see why now?
Ann wrote: …
….the next time I am in Rome I will climb to the top of the dome at St. Peter’s and look for an old priest with white hair and a cane feeding the goldfish. Although he will no longer appear at the apostolic window, we know that he is there, praying for the Church, still blessing us.
Went to the Home & Garden show, which was mostly a big waste – half gutter guard companies, the other half As-Seen-On-TV cleaning devices and solutions.
But..I made a big mistake. I (with my two assistants tagging along) stopped and talked to this woman for a few minutes.
Like…you can have the chickens for a while..and then they come take them away??
Could this maybe drown out the drumbeat of
Back to Pope Stuff. This is one of the weirder things I noticed this week.
I was leafing through the present issue of Living Faith for Kids. Which was probably compiled about four months ago.
It opened to a special little extra “Catholic stuff to know” spread. The topic was : “How do Catholics elect a Pope?”
Its placement in the issue?
The page before February 28.
When we were in Paris, we discovered the Horrible Histories series – published by Scholastic UK. The boys gobbled them up, especially the 8-year old. I’ve since discovered there are other in the “Horrible” genre, so we are slowly testing them. Michael (8) has read the volume on the rainforest and is now reading the book on lakes - Monster Lakes. They’re amusing and substantive – although a bit gross at times, as the titles make clear.
You can find them in a number of places, but I ordered mine from this fellow – he has really good prices and doesn’t charge shipping. I ordered some geography titles and a few math. We haven’t cracked the math yet, but will soon.
One of the features of Charlotte Mason schooling – which is part of my inspiration – is “narration” – that is, the child learning by telling you, the teacher, what he or she has read. Younger children tell you, but the older they get, the more they write.
It’s something I am trying to work in, but (not surprisingly) am a little slow on. I was feeling badly about that until today, when I was trying to do some of my own work and Michael came in approximately every 73 seconds, his finger holding his place in Bloomin Rainforests, saying “Did you know that ________________?”
I realized – narration? Check. Me, I get narrated at all day long.
For the past month, every time I’ve passed the boxed Valentines section in a store, I’ve felt this tiny thrill:
We don’t have to do that this year!!!
Yup. It felt good.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!