I, along with other Catholics are shocked to hear the news this morning that Pope Benedict has decided to resign. This is an historic move for the Pope and I'm sure it is one that was preceded by much prayer and reflection. I give him a lot of credit for having the courage and humility to say, "it's time."
I'm sure it's a decision that has weighed on him for a long time. He has given much to the Church and sometimes it takes a great man (or woman) to know when the time is right. Timing is everything in life.
The Pope made the stunning announcement during a meeting of Cardinals on Monday. He said, "After having repeatedly examining my conscience, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry......."
The words that struck me are "the certainty." He's sure about this decision. The Cardinals present in the room, who had no advance notice, I'm sure, probably almost fell off their chairs, or they thought they must of misunderstood. After all, they were in an historic meeting and it's certainly not what they were expecting.
The 85- year- old Pope deserves a must needed rest. He's written great books about Jesus and will probably keep writing in retirement. I can't even imagine the stress he was under as Pope. There is a lot of politics in the Church, which can be very psychologically draining. It's a beautiful institution, as I've experienced it. It's a Divine institution, as Jesus is the invisible, Divine head of the Church but on a human level, the Pope is the human head of the Church on earth. In the earthly realm, there is so much politics, hard work, meetings, liturgies and events (and unfortunately, scandal) besides everything else and the demands of the office must be very burdensome. The fact that he was betrayed by a member of his staff, his butler, must have been very disturbing to the Pope as well.
Good decision, Pope Benedict! Enjoy your retirement and let someone younger, with more energy and robust health take over. May the Holy Spirit guide the Church at this crucial and historic time. Come Holy Spirit, Come. Veni Sanctus Spiritus!
Just a thought, imagine if Cardinal Timothy Dolan becomes that next Pope, it could happen, now that would be a real shocker!