I Want My Pope Back

Truth? What was my initial reaction upon hearing the news of the Pope's resignation? I was ticked.

While it is certainly possible for a Pope to resign, no Pope has done it for the last 600 years. The Papacy has 'til death do us part' thing to it. We are supposed to bury Popes, not throw them retirement parties.

While my mind understands that this Pope must have a very good reason for resigning, my heart still breaks a bit. Maybe that is the reason I am so upset, I don't really understand the reason. The Pope's simple statement on the matter is that the Papacy requires "both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which, in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me." While this is undoubtedly true, it has been true of other Popes as well, none more so than his predecessor Pope John Paul II. But the simplicity and the vagueness of it leaves me with a 'it is not you, it is me" jilted feeling.

But thinking about how we witnessed Pope John Paul II suffering during the end of his pontificate got me to wondering. And what is wondering out loud if not speculation, so I speculate. I wonder if it was what Cardinal Ratzinger witnessed at the end of his predecessor's pontificate that led to this decision today?

While we all witnessed an enfeebled holy man suffer ...

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*subhead*Til death do us part.*subhead*


  1. He knows the pain and suffering that the Church went through when Blessed Pope John Paul II was at his advanced stage of Parkinson’s. In his discernment, he feels that he can best serve the Church by stepping aside and allowing others to lead.

  2. My first thought was, "What?! Can he do that?" displaying my ignorance, here), but I believe that this was a hard decision (made after much prayer) for him to make, and our prayers are with him and with all the cardinals at the next conclave. Part of me felt a lot like I did when I was in my parents' car many years ago and we were driving down an icy road in the Silverton (OR) hills (driving home after dinner with family at the yearly elk camp), and the car started slipping and slid toward the edge of the road--which was a steep drop-off. I wasn't scared so much as curious, thinking, "Oh. Are we going to die now?..." before the car just stopped on the edge, and my dad carefully brought the car back onto the road and we managed to get home without any other adventures. Of course, I wasn't the one driving, and I don't know what was going through my dad's head, or my mom's. Plus, I never got to find out what that curiosity might have changed into had we started going over the edge.

  3. Pope Benedict did the right thing. Pope John Paul should had resigned 5 years before he died. He was in no condition to rule the church.

  4. Smells like a dead fish... to resign??? really??? where is the self-sacrifice??? so that means that if my back hurts I can then divorce my wife??? how about quitting on my kids because of health reason??? there's GOT TO BE more to this than just health reason... SPECIALLY following JPII's example of self-giving!

  5. Quo vadis? http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/20130217-Quo-Vadis-Petre-Where-Are-You-Going-Peter.html

  6. Alex, I wouldn't call JPII's example "self-giving." I would call it stubborn arrogance. Yes, JPII's stubbornness served him well in his fight against Communism but traits can have both negative and positive effects.

    We don't know how healthy or ill Benedict is; the Vatican doesn't generally release that information. In any case, do Catholics really want a Pope who, in his own estimation, cannot physically handle the job?

    Besides, have you ever said to yourself, "I'm too old to take this garbage, anymore"? Well, how do you know that's not the way Benedict feels? Never underestimate the power of bureaucratic intransigence, especially in the Vatican. Curial bishops are an arrogant lot who guard their baillywicks jealously. Most are younger than Benedict and probably think they can wait him out.

    Remember how energetic the beginning of Benedict's papacy was? He issued a diplomatic, yet direct, challenge to the Muslim world through his Regensburg speech, and he ousted the perverted Maciel. Let's not forget that Maciel had a lot of friends and influence in Rome, and that many Vatican bishops are effectively pro-Arab and pro-Muslim, especially vis-a-vis Israel. Benedict probably earned a lot of curial enemies for both positions, and those enemies likely decided to make his life Hell.


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