Tuesday, 12 February 2013

God Bless Our Pope, the Great, the Good

Maybe he'll have more chance for serenity now

It seems like a great many people, myself amongst them, are struggling to take in the idea that the Benedict will not be Pope next month. I never thought I would live to see a pope resign. It all makes sense when I look back on it, but I'd never have guessed this is what he was building up to.

Time moves on. Humans are living longer than ever before and whereas in the past we would have died before we got too frail to work. The 19th and 20th centuries saw great advances in medicine meaning that we now live long enough that we get illnesses associated with old age we never used to. If you look at videos of Pius XII towards the end of his life, he sometimes appears to demonstrate the natural mental effects of great old age. I pray that the Holy Father hasn't found himself with the first signs of dementia, there certainly been no hint that he has, but one could understand how the curia would rather keep it under wraps if he did. He chose Our Lady of Lourdes's feast, by whose prayers so many people with such a variety of illnesses had been cured, to make his abdication announcement. He is always going to have been the best judge of when to step down. He is a brave man for having done so, hopefully in the future when a pope feels he can no longer carry out the petrine ministry to the extent required he will feel more comfortable abdicating because of this. The humility of seeing that the work of running the Church had got too much for his frail body is powerful.

The poor man never wanted to be pope, which I imagine has something to do with why he's been such a good pope. He tried to resign from the curia before John Paul II died but stayed in his post out of obedience and he talked about how he would resign the papacy if he ever felt he needed.
In 2009 Benedict placed his own pallium on the tomb of Pope St Peter Celestine V who himself abdicated in 1294
Suddenly, Archbishop Gänswein crying on last month when he was ordained a bishop makes sense and Pope Benedict's words instructing those four bishops he was ordaining to be courageous. This is a man that is deeply loved by many, not least of all me. It is a great shame that we won't get his encyclical on Faith, the only indicator of future behavious is past so presumably it would have been a great work.

England won't have a vote in the upcoming conclave, though to be honest I'm not sure that's a problem: I don't think we have a specific point of view that needs promoting within the Church. We can though expect the usual bunkum as people think that think that the Church has policies and not doctrines and so expect any number of things to change that simply will not. Jesus knew everything and did not lie. His teachings will be true forever as they have always been, so the Church won't change those teachings when she repeats them.

I'll be praying for him and I expect at some point to be asking for his prayers. I wonder if he will publish his retirements work or wait for it to be published after he's dead.

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