The Pope Resigns, first thoughts (8 updates and counting)

by Datechguy | February 11th, 2013

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The Pope Resigns, first thoughts (8 updates and counting)

Just woke up and turned on the TV but couldn’t find the con­troller so only saw the pic­tures of the pope and talk of an elec­tion, it wasn’t until about 4 min­utes later that I found out that Bene­dict XVI will resign effec­tive Feb 28th.
I was rather sur­prised it was a con­trast to Pope John Paul II who stayed on as an exam­ple of per­se­ver­ance but of course it is up to the pope who decide if he is phys­i­cally capa­ble of ding the job.

Appar­ently he has been told he can’t take trips and in the mod­ern Era that has become an intrin­sic part of the job. In an inter­net age I’m not so sure.

It also hits me as Pope emer­i­tus he can have a much more inti­mate con­nec­tion to the faith­ful via twit­ter. He can con­tinue to write and directly com­mu­ni­cate to the faith­ful using social media. I think this would be an excel­lent use of his time.

It also occurs to me that as a liv­ing pope rather than a dead one it will be inter­est­ing to see what effect his pres­ence will be on who is elected to replace him.

Expect MANY updates

Update: I pre­dict this tweet will prove absolutely correct:

But I reit­er­ate his pri­mary min­istry should now be on twit­ter Here is the full state­ment from the Vat­i­can Site:

Dear Broth­ers, I have con­voked you to this Con­sis­tory, not only for the three can­on­iza­tions, but also to com­mu­ni­cate to you a deci­sion of great impor­tance for the life of the Church. After hav­ing repeat­edly exam­ined my con­science before God, 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. I am well aware that this min­istry, due to its essen­tial spir­i­tual nature, must be car­ried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suf­fer­ing. How­ever, in today’s world, sub­ject to so many rapid changes and shaken by ques­tions of deep rel­e­vance for the life of faith, in order to gov­ern the bark of Saint Peter and pro­claim the Gospel, 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. For this rea­son, and well aware of the seri­ous­ness of this act, with full free­dom I declare that I renounce the min­istry of Bishop of Rome, Suc­ces­sor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Car­di­nals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 Feb­ru­ary 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Con­clave to elect the new Supreme Pon­tiff will have to be con­voked by those whose com­pe­tence it is. Dear Broth­ers, I thank you most sin­cerely for all the love and work with which you have sup­ported me in my min­istry and I ask par­don for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pas­tor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Car­di­nal Fathers with her mater­nal solic­i­tude, in elect­ing a new Supreme Pon­tiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devot­edly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life ded­i­cated to prayer. From the Vat­i­can, 10 Feb­ru­ary 2013 BENE­DIC­TUS PP XVI

Update 2: That didn’t take long:

Almost 1000 retweets too, on the bright side Frankie Boyle believes in Hell, that means he might just fig­ure it out dur­ing his life­time. I’m with Eliz­a­beth Scalia, all this will do is cause the Holy Father to pray for him, and as he’ll be in retire­ment he will have much more time for prayer.

Update 3: Damien Thomp­son:

there has always been a sus­pi­cion that Joseph Ratzinger would step down from office if he became inca­pac­i­tated: he has a rad­i­cal and stub­born streak in him that means he would take advan­tage of the facil­ity to resign the throne of Peter if he felt it nec­es­sary for the good of the Church.

But still: Catholics will be deeply shocked and, in most cases, dis­mayed by this deci­sion, which I see above all as an act of self-​sacrifice by a man not pre­pared to see the Church suf­fer as a result of his increas­ing frailty.

He also makes a very impor­tant point that may have dri­ven this decision:

my own feel­ing is that he has had to shoul­der the bur­den of scan­dals that should have bro­ken many years before he became pope, and also that his per­sonal cul­pa­bil­ity as the Vatican’s doc­tri­nal watch­dog dur­ing that period should not be exag­ger­ated. John Paul II rather than Bene­dict XVI can be accused of turn­ing a blind eye to cer­tain abom­i­na­tions, not least to the Mex­i­can child abuser the late Fr Mar­cel Maciel, whom Bene­dict sent into dis­graced exile as soon as he became Pope. One rea­son Maciel was not dealt with in time was that John Paul II was too ill and, let us be hon­est, men­tally enfee­bled to con­front Maciel’s crimes. Ratzinger has been deter­mined from the begin­ning not to allow the same sit­u­a­tion to over­take him.

ABC is run­ning a loop of pope news from his elec­tion to his res­ig­na­tion. Cool idea.

Update 4: Ed Mor­ris­sey

Again, just to give some his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive, the last time this hap­pened, Guten­berg hadn’t yet invented the print­ing press. What does it mean for the Catholic Church today, with 1.2 bil­lion faith­ful and the state of the Vat­i­can in the bal­ance? Admin­is­tra­tively, not much. The Vat­i­can and the Church oper­ate with­out a Pope when one dies, and the same mech­a­nisms will carry out the day-​to-​day func­tions of both the Church and the state until a suc­ces­sor is cho­sen by the Col­lege of Car­di­nals. If any­thing, that will pro­ceed in a more orderly fash­ion, with the head start pro­vided by Bene­dict XVI’s notice.

Spir­i­tu­ally, of course, it’s another mat­ter entirely. Bene­dict XVI is one of the Church’s great­est liv­ing the­olo­gians, and has been a highly-​respected leader of faith in his pon­tif­i­cate. It’s impos­si­ble not to com­pare him to his pre­de­ces­sor Blessed John Paul, whose pon­tif­i­cate lasted for decades and who had a tremen­dous impact on the world and gov­erned the Church through a renewal of faith, but that com­par­i­son will prob­a­bly be a lit­tle unfair to Bene­dict XVI. The man­ner of his leav­ing, though, begs for that kind of com­par­i­son. Blessed John Paul took the tra­di­tional route of hold­ing the office to his death despite suf­fer­ing from Parkinson’s, a dis­ease that rav­aged his body but left his mind clear. Bene­dict XVI makes explicit men­tion of con­cerns over the state of his “mind and body” and a dete­ri­o­ra­tion in one or both that has cre­ated an “inca­pac­ity,” which leaves the impres­sion that one of the most bril­liant minds in the Church may be dim­ming, and that Bene­dict XVI has decided to forego the dif­fi­cul­ties this would cause the Church and allow another to take his place. That itself is a sig­nif­i­cant sac­ri­fice, and per­haps an impor­tant act of humility.

On Morn­ing Joe it seems all about race and pol­i­tics and lit­tle about the faith. Why am I not surprised?

Update 5: Twitchy remains busy find­ing both respect­ful prayer and hate and the Guardian breaks some news:

Pope Benedict’s res­ig­na­tion has been planned for some time – Rowan Williams, the for­mer arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, knew about it before Christ­mas – but it is still a stun­ning shock to the out­side world. No pope has will­ingly resigned since Pope Celes­tine V in 1294.

Mean­while a piece of twit­ter snark that speaks volumes:

That’s gonna leave a mark.

Update 6: the Deacon’s bench has a roundup includ­ing a brief his­tory of popes who have resigned.

In Light of the World, Pope Bene­dict responded unam­bigu­ously to a ques­tion about whether a pope could resign: “Yes. If a Pope clearly real­izes that he is no longer phys­i­cally, psy­cho­log­i­cally, and spir­i­tu­ally capa­ble of han­dling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some cir­cum­stances, also an oblig­a­tion to resign.”

Bloomberg tells where he is head­ing:

Pope Bene­dict will have no role in choos­ing his suc­ces­sor, Vat­i­can spokesman Father Fed­erico Lom­bardi said at a press con­fer­ence in Rome. The pope will ini­tially retire to his sum­mer res­i­dence in Cas­tel Gan­dolfo before trans­fer­ring to live in a con­vent, Lom­bardi said.

CBS quotes the pope’s brother on his health:

Talk­ing from his home in Regens­burg to the news agency dpa, Georg Ratzinger said his brother was hav­ing increas­ing dif­fi­culty walk­ing and that his res­ig­na­tion was part of a “nat­ural process.” “His age is weigh­ing on him,” the 89-​year-​old said of his 85-​year-​old brother. “At this age my brother wants more rest.”

Wash­ing­ton Post pushes an out of Europe pope:

At a time when the church is declin­ing in its for­mer strong­hold of Europe, but gain­ing strength its in Africa, Asia and Latin Amer­ica, pres­sure is grow­ing on the col­lege of car­di­nals – the global princes of the church – to break with tra­di­tion by elect­ing a non-​European pope.

CNN notes the evo­lu­tion of this pope came dur­ing the 60’s:

As a young priest, Ratzinger was on the pro­gres­sive side of the­o­log­i­cal debates, but began to shift right after the stu­dent rev­o­lu­tions of 1968, CNN Vat­i­can ana­lyst John Allen Jr. said.

Update 7: Film Ladd Tweets:

Given what is hap­pen­ing in the US and the per­se­cu­tion of the Church both in the flesh and in the media this sounds less crazy than it might have a week ago.

While the NYT plays finds an inter­est­ing piece to remem­ber:

In 2006, less than two years into his papacy, Bene­dict stirred ire across the Mus­lim world, refer­ring in a long, schol­arly address to a con­ver­sa­tion on the truths of Chris­tian­ity and Islam that took place between a 14th-​century Byzan­tine Chris­t­ian emperor, Manuel II Pale­o­lo­gus, and a Per­sian scholar.

The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war,” the pope said. “He said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Muham­mad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhu­man, such as his com­mand to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’”

While mak­ing clear that he was quot­ing some­one else, Bene­dict did not say whether he agreed or not. He also briefly dis­cussed the Islamic con­cept of jihad, which he defined as “holy war,” and said that vio­lence in the name of reli­gion is con­trary to God’s nature and to reason.


Update 8
: Whis­pers in the Log­gia com­ments:

The lone item of canon law to even men­tion a pontiff’s res­ig­na­tion is Canon 332, para­graph 2, which states that “If it hap­pens that the Roman Pon­tiff resigns his office, it is required for valid­ity that the res­ig­na­tion is made freely and prop­erly man­i­fested but not that it is accepted by anyone.”

Along the same lines, there is no pro­to­col what­so­ever for the titles or sta­tus of a retired Pope.

and he notes a clue that every­one missed this weekend

On Fri­day, Bene­dict raised some eye­brows by hav­ing a rare pri­vate audi­ence with the Dean of the Col­lege of Car­di­nals, the 85 year-​old Ital­ian Angelo Sodano, the fig­ure who would be respon­si­ble for the con­vok­ing of a papal elec­tion. The depart­ing pon­tiff osten­si­bly com­mu­ni­cated his plan to the Cardinal-​Dean at that point.

Update 9: Think Progress lists “pro­gres­sive” steps by the out­go­ing Pope:

– A fair and equi­table econ­omy. “[T]he econ­omy can­not be mea­sured only by max­i­miza­tion of profit but rather accord­ing to the com­mon good,” he said in 2011 dur­ing a visit to Spain. In a 2009 trea­tise, the pon­tiff called for pro­tec­tions for “labour unions — which have always been encour­aged and sup­ported by the Church,” the elim­i­na­tion of world hunger through “wealth redis­tri­b­u­tion,” the pro­tec­tion of the “nat­ural environment” — “God’s gift to everyone” — from unchecked eco­nomic expan­sion, and a strength­ened “fam­ily of nations,” like the U.N. with “real teeth.”


Update 10:
Linked by Lonely Con­ser­v­a­tive & Stacy McCain

Every MSM news out­let seems to be talk­ing about a pos­si­ble Latin Amer­i­can or African Pope, I think the MSM is auto­mat­i­cally assum­ing such a pope would be “pro­gres­sive” the real­ity is such a pope is likely to be more conservative.

Update 11: Larry O’Connor raises a con­cern

At a time when the cul­ture of death cham­pi­ons the despi­ca­ble ideas of euthana­sia and abor­tion, it was inspi­ra­tional to see the Pope con­tin­u­ing his crit­i­cally impor­tant work through his afflic­tion. Pope Bene­dict said in his state­ment (empha­sis mine), “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.” Frankly, I hope that this res­ig­na­tion is moti­vated by the Holy Father’s con­cern over his men­tal capac­ity ver­sus his phys­i­cal capac­ity oth­er­wise he risks under­min­ing the final, pow­er­ful state­ment about the dig­nity of life demon­strated by his remark­able predecesor.

It’s a fair point, but one of the most impor­tant aspects of the church is its dichotomy. The king­ship of Christ and the humil­ity of Christ. Lov­ing the sin­ner and hat­ing the sin. The last being first and the first last. Help­ing the poor while encour­ag­ing work and effort, faith vs works.

Bene­dict by his res­ig­na­tion is not mak­ing any less of the heroic exam­ple of his pre­de­ces­sor, it instead com­pletes the les­son by stress­ing the del­i­cate bal­ance the Chris­t­ian has to walk, as Christ put it himself:

Do not think that I have come to abol­ish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abol­ish but to ful­fill. Matthew 5:17

This is just a dif­fer­ent les­son, no less important.

Update 12: Kathryn Jean Lopez answers Larry O’Connor with­out mean­ing to.

Update 13:Lots of jokes going around twit­ter, some are tak­ing offense, I don’t after all God proved he had a sense of humor by cre­at­ing man, but it takes real skill to make a joke about this sub­ject with­out being dis­re­spect­ful. Will be inter­est­ing to see how the late night comics do it.

Spec­u­la­tion con­tin­ues about who will replace Bene­dict XVI. In my mind other than the obvi­ous qual­i­fi­ca­tion of faith and love of Christ the most impor­tant qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the posi­tion of Pope is not want­ing the job but being will­ing to say “Here I am Lord” if called.

And here’s a thought, will he be still referred to as Pope Bene­dict XVI or Joseph Ratzinger (I’m bet­ting the for­mer. What is the protocol?

Update 14: Fr. Robert Sirico at the cor­ner on hand­i­cap­ping the “race”

Any­one who tells you there is a “front-​runner” sim­ply does not know what he is talk­ing about. The ripen­ing period for “papa­bili” to emerge has just begun, though were I forced to iden­tify one or two pos­si­bil­i­ties, I would look at the Cana­dian car­di­nal Marc Ouel­let (head of the Con­gre­ga­tion of Bish­ops), or Car­di­nal Angelo Scola, arch­bishop of Milan (the Ital­ians very much want the papacy back), or even Car­di­nal George Pell from Aus­tralia. If we are hop­ing for an Amer­i­can, of course, the arch­bishop of New York, Car­di­nal Tim­o­thy Dolan would be great.

Remem­ber one does not have to be a Car­di­nal to be a pope. Mean­while Brad Dayspring man­ages to thread the nee­dle between funny and respectful:

Mean­while Sen­a­tor John Baras­sao (R-​WY) on MSNBC calls it a prece­dent set­ting deci­sion. Inter­est­ing conjecture.

Update 15: And on the 15th update we hear from the Anchoress:

John Paul II’s dete­ri­o­ra­tion was hard to watch, but one of the lessons it taught us was that age and ill­ness does not dimin­ish the worth of a per­son; that was an impor­tant, nay, urgent mes­sage that had to be deliv­ered to this increas­ingly util­i­tar­ian age.

Per­haps Benedict’s retire­ment is meant to remind this exceed­ingly busy world — the non-​stop, twenty-​four-​hour-​live and very self-​important world — that we are none of us indis­pens­able; that there comes a time to step back, throw one­self into the arms of the Lord and trust that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all man­ner of things shall be well.

and Fr Dwight Lon­ge­necker:

When Bene­dict XVI cre­ated the Angli­can Ordi­nar­i­ate he made his­tory. Never before had a new struc­ture been estab­lished to allow Protes­tants to have their own “church within the Church”. Bene­dict used the new media as no other Pope had done, churned out bril­liant Bib­li­cal stud­ies mak­ing clear that he was writ­ing as a the­olo­gian and not the suc­ces­sor of Peter. Build­ing on the legacy of Bl. John Paul, he embraced the reforms of the Sec­ond Vat­i­can Coun­cil at the same time show­ing us how tra­di­tion can con­tinue with­out turn­ing back the clock. All of these, in one way or another, are great surprises.

Now he sur­prises us again.

Mean­while the left as always, con­tem­plates a church made it its own image.

Update 16: Two inter­est­ing Mus­lim per­spec­tives at Pathos

I can’t get over the idea that this very, very rare thing came from a place of reflec­tion – a reflec­tion, as Eliz­a­beth writes, that none of us are indis­pens­able. And as immensely dif­fi­cult as it must be, some­times we must acknowl­edge that we must step back and trust that all will be well, all will move for­ward and God will provide.

and face­book from Sheikh Yasir Qadhi

one must admit that it does take courage for a man to pub­licly admit that he is not qual­i­fied for a job (espe­cially his!). Jokes about his res­ig­na­tion are going viral, but if he resigned because he felt too old to do jus­tice to his posi­tion, then I for one have respect for that honesty.

and I really liked the com­ment from one Abu Adman in com­ments:

That he resigned is prob­a­bly clear evi­dence that he IS the right man for the job.

Update 17: National Catholic Reporter:

Today, the pope indi­cated that the Petrine min­istry is a min­istry, a very spe­cific min­istry to be sure, but more of a job than a vow.

The sec­ond imme­di­ate take-​away is that Pope Bene­dict needs to take every step very care­fully in the next few days and weeks. Each step will be a precedent.

I agree with the 2nd but not the first but the whole arti­cle seems hint at a desire for a pope accept­able to MSNBC.

Update 18: Father Z is all over this but the most inter­est­ing post is this one:

I have writ­ten again and again that the SSPX was going to wake up one day and expe­ri­ence the bad end of the stick. That day is com­ing, prob­a­bly with the elec­tion of the next Pope which is now a lot closer than I thought it would be.

The mem­ber­ship of the SSPX should con­verge on Rome this week. They should, all together, crawl on hands and knees across St. Peter’s Square and stay there until the Pope will admit them. They should beg the Pope to let them kiss his shoe, accept their promises of obe­di­ence, and the reg­u­lar­ize them before he resigns.

A lot of con­se­quences to this act that has not occurred to peo­ple yet.

[ther­mome­ter raised=0 target=300 height =200 ]

It’s a new week and my goal each week is a $300 dol­lar pay­check. The ques­tion if I get one or not? That’s up to you.




Just woke up and turned on the TV but couldn’t find the controller so only saw the pictures of the pope and talk of an election, it wasn’t until about 4 minutes later that I found out that Benedict XVI will resign effective Feb 28th.
I was rather surprised it was a contrast to Pope John Paul II who stayed on as an example of perseverance but of course it is up to the pope who decide if he is physically capable of ding the job.

Apparently he has been told he can’t take trips and in the modern Era that has become an intrinsic part of the job. In an internet age I’m not so sure.

It also hits me as Pope emeritus he can have a much more intimate connection to the faithful via twitter. He can continue to write and directly communicate to the faithful using social media. I think this would be an excellent use of his time.

It also occurs to me that as a living pope rather than a dead one it will be interesting to see what effect his presence will be on who is elected to replace him.

Expect MANY updates

Update: I predict this tweet will prove absolutely correct:

But I reiterate his primary ministry should now be on twitter Here is the full statement from the Vatican Site:

Dear Brothers, I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, 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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, 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. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is. Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer. From the Vatican, 10 February 2013 BENEDICTUS PP XVI

Update 2: That didn’t take long:

 

Almost 1000 retweets too, on the bright side Frankie Boyle believes in Hell, that means he might just figure it out during his lifetime. I’m with Elizabeth Scalia, all this will do is cause the Holy Father to pray for him, and as he’ll be in retirement he will have much more time for prayer.

Update 3: Damien Thompson:

there has always been a suspicion that Joseph Ratzinger would step down from office if he became incapacitated: he has a radical and stubborn streak in him that means he would take advantage of the facility to resign the throne of Peter if he felt it necessary for the good of the Church.

But still: Catholics will be deeply shocked and, in most cases, dismayed by this decision, which I see above all as an act of self-sacrifice by a man not prepared to see the Church suffer as a result of his increasing frailty.

He also makes a very important point that may have driven this decision:

my own feeling is that he has had to shoulder the burden of scandals that should have broken many years before he became pope, and also that his personal culpability as the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog during that period should not be exaggerated. John Paul II rather than Benedict XVI can be accused of turning a blind eye to certain abominations, not least to the Mexican child abuser the late Fr Marcel Maciel, whom Benedict sent into disgraced exile as soon as he became Pope. One reason Maciel was not dealt with in time was that John Paul II was too ill and, let us be honest, mentally enfeebled to confront Maciel’s crimes. Ratzinger has been determined from the beginning not to allow the same situation to overtake him.

ABC is running a loop of pope news from his election to his resignation. Cool idea.

Update 4: Ed Morrissey

Again, just to give some historical perspective, the last time this happened, Gutenberg hadn’t yet invented the printing press. What does it mean for the Catholic Church today, with 1.2 billion faithful and the state of the Vatican in the balance? Administratively, not much. The Vatican and the Church operate without a Pope when one dies, and the same mechanisms will carry out the day-to-day functions of both the Church and the state until a successor is chosen by the College of Cardinals. If anything, that will proceed in a more orderly fashion, with the head start provided by Benedict XVI’s notice.

Spiritually, of course, it’s another matter entirely. Benedict XVI is one of the Church’s greatest living theologians, and has been a highly-respected leader of faith in his pontificate. It’s impossible not to compare him to his predecessor Blessed John Paul, whose pontificate lasted for decades and who had a tremendous impact on the world and governed the Church through a renewal of faith, but that comparison will probably be a little unfair to Benedict XVI. The manner of his leaving, though, begs for that kind of comparison. Blessed John Paul took the traditional route of holding the office to his death despite suffering from Parkinson’s, a disease that ravaged his body but left his mind clear. Benedict XVI makes explicit mention of concerns over the state of his “mind and body” and a deterioration in one or both that has created an “incapacity,” which leaves the impression that one of the most brilliant minds in the Church may be dimming, and that Benedict XVI has decided to forego the difficulties this would cause the Church and allow another to take his place. That itself is a significant sacrifice, and perhaps an important act of humility.

On Morning Joe it seems all about race and politics and little about the faith. Why am I not surprised?

Update 5: Twitchy remains busy finding both respectful prayer and hate and the Guardian breaks some news:

Pope Benedict’s resignation has been planned for some time – Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, knew about it before Christmas – but it is still a stunning shock to the outside world. No pope has willingly resigned since Pope Celestine V in 1294.

Meanwhile a piece of twitter snark that speaks volumes:

That’s gonna leave a mark.

Update 6: the Deacon’s bench has a roundup including a brief history of popes who have resigned.

In Light of the World, Pope Benedict responded unambiguously to a question about whether a pope could resign: “Yes. If a Pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.”

Bloomberg tells where he is heading:

Pope Benedict will have no role in choosing his successor, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said at a press conference in Rome. The pope will initially retire to his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo before transferring to live in a convent, Lombardi said.

CBS quotes the pope’s brother on his health:

Talking from his home in Regensburg to the news agency dpa, Georg Ratzinger said his brother was having increasing difficulty walking and that his resignation was part of a “natural process.” “His age is weighing on him,” the 89-year-old said of his 85-year-old brother. “At this age my brother wants more rest.”

Washington Post pushes an out of Europe pope:

At a time when the church is declining in its former stronghold of Europe, but gaining strength its in Africa, Asia and Latin America, pressure is growing on the college of cardinals – the global princes of the church – to break with tradition by electing a non-European pope.

CNN notes the evolution of this pope came during the 60’s:

As a young priest, Ratzinger was on the progressive side of theological debates, but began to shift right after the student revolutions of 1968, CNN Vatican analyst John Allen Jr. said.

Update 7: Film Ladd Tweets:

 

Given what is happening in the US and the persecution of the Church both in the flesh and in the media this sounds less crazy than it might have a week ago.

While the NYT plays finds an interesting piece to remember:

In 2006, less than two years into his papacy, Benedict stirred ire across the Muslim world, referring in a long, scholarly address to a conversation on the truths of Christianity and Islam that took place between a 14th-century Byzantine Christian emperor, Manuel II Paleologus, and a Persian scholar.

“The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war,” the pope said. “He said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’”

While making clear that he was quoting someone else, Benedict did not say whether he agreed or not. He also briefly discussed the Islamic concept of jihad, which he defined as “holy war,” and said that violence in the name of religion is contrary to God’s nature and to reason.


Update 8
: Whispers in the Loggia comments:

The lone item of canon law to even mention a pontiff’s resignation is Canon 332, paragraph 2, which states that “If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.”

Along the same lines, there is no protocol whatsoever for the titles or status of a retired Pope.

and he notes a clue that everyone missed this weekend

On Friday, Benedict raised some eyebrows by having a rare private audience with the Dean of the College of Cardinals, the 85 year-old Italian Angelo Sodano, the figure who would be responsible for the convoking of a papal election. The departing pontiff ostensibly communicated his plan to the Cardinal-Dean at that point.

Update 9: Think Progress lists “progressive” steps by the outgoing Pope:

– A fair and equitable economy. “[T]he economy cannot be measured only by maximization of profit but rather according to the common good,” he said in 2011 during a visit to Spain. In a 2009 treatise, the pontiff called for protections for “labour unions — which have always been encouraged and supported by the Church,” the elimination of world hunger through “wealth redistribution,” the protection of the “natural environment” — “God’s gift to everyone” — from unchecked economic expansion, and a strengthened “family of nations,” like the U.N. with “real teeth.”


Update 10:
Linked by Lonely Conservative & Stacy McCain

Every MSM news outlet seems to be talking about a possible Latin American or African Pope, I think the MSM is automatically assuming such a pope would be “progressive” the reality is such a pope is likely to be more conservative.

Update 11: Larry O’Connor raises a concern

At a time when the culture of death champions the despicable ideas of euthanasia and abortion, it was inspirational to see the Pope continuing his critically important work through his affliction. Pope Benedict said in his statement (emphasis mine), “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.” Frankly, I hope that this resignation is motivated by the Holy Father’s concern over his mental capacity versus his physical capacity otherwise he risks undermining the final, powerful statement about the dignity of life demonstrated by his remarkable predecesor.

It’s a fair point, but one of the most important aspects of the church is its dichotomy. The kingship of Christ and the humility of Christ. Loving the sinner and hating the sin. The last being first and the first last. Helping the poor while encouraging work and effort, faith vs works.

Benedict by his resignation is not making any less of the heroic example of his predecessor, it instead completes the lesson by stressing the delicate balance the Christian has to walk, as Christ put it himself:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Matthew 5:17

This is just a different lesson, no less important.

Update 12: Kathryn Jean Lopez answers Larry O’Connor without meaning to.

Update 13:Lots of jokes going around twitter, some are taking offense, I don’t after all God proved he had a sense of humor by creating man, but it takes real skill to make a joke about this subject without being disrespectful. Will be interesting to see how the late night comics do it.

Speculation continues about who will replace Benedict XVI. In my mind other than the obvious qualification of faith and love of Christ the most important qualification for the position of Pope is not wanting the job but being willing to say “Here I am Lord” if called.

And here’s a thought, will he be still referred to as Pope Benedict XVI or Joseph Ratzinger (I’m betting the former. What is the protocol?

Update 14: Fr. Robert Sirico at the corner on handicapping the “race”

Anyone who tells you there is a “front-runner” simply does not know what he is talking about. The ripening period for “papabili” to emerge has just begun, though were I forced to identify one or two possibilities, I would look at the Canadian cardinal Marc Ouellet (head of the Congregation of Bishops), or Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan (the Italians very much want the papacy back), or even Cardinal George Pell from Australia. If we are hoping for an American, of course, the archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan would be great.

Remember one does not have to be a Cardinal to be a pope. Meanwhile Brad Dayspring manages to thread the needle between funny and respectful:

 

Meanwhile Senator John Barassao (R-WY) on MSNBC calls it a precedent setting decision. Interesting conjecture.

Update 15: And on the 15th update we hear from the Anchoress:

John Paul II’s deterioration was hard to watch, but one of the lessons it taught us was that age and illness does not diminish the worth of a person; that was an important, nay, urgent message that had to be delivered to this increasingly utilitarian age.

Perhaps Benedict’s retirement is meant to remind this exceedingly busy world — the non-stop, twenty-four-hour-live and very self-important world — that we are none of us indispensable; that there comes a time to step back, throw oneself into the arms of the Lord and trust that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

and Fr Dwight Longenecker:

When Benedict XVI created the Anglican Ordinariate he made history. Never before had a new structure been established to allow Protestants to have their own “church within the Church”. Benedict used the new media as no other Pope had done, churned out brilliant Biblical studies making clear that he was writing as a theologian and not the successor of Peter. Building on the legacy of Bl. John Paul, he embraced the reforms of the Second Vatican Council at the same time showing us how tradition can continue without turning back the clock. All of these, in one way or another, are great surprises.

Now he surprises us again.

Meanwhile the left as always, contemplates a church made it its own image.

Update 16: Two interesting Muslim perspectives at Pathos

I can’t get over the idea that this very, very rare thing came from a place of reflection – a reflection, as Elizabeth writes, that none of us are indispensable. And as immensely difficult as it must be, sometimes we must acknowledge that we must step back and trust that all will be well, all will move forward and God will provide.

and facebook from Sheikh Yasir Qadhi

one must admit that it does take courage for a man to publicly admit that he is not qualified for a job (especially his!). Jokes about his resignation are going viral, but if he resigned because he felt too old to do justice to his position, then I for one have respect for that honesty.

and I really liked the comment from one Abu Adman in comments:

That he resigned is probably clear evidence that he IS the right man for the job.

Update 17: National Catholic Reporter:

Today, the pope indicated that the Petrine ministry is a ministry, a very specific ministry to be sure, but more of a job than a vow.

The second immediate take-away is that Pope Benedict needs to take every step very carefully in the next few days and weeks. Each step will be a precedent.

I agree with the 2nd but not the first but the whole article seems hint at a desire for a pope acceptable to MSNBC.

Update 18: Father Z is all over this but the most interesting post is this one:

I have written again and again that the SSPX was going to wake up one day and experience the bad end of the stick. That day is coming, probably with the election of the next Pope which is now a lot closer than I thought it would be.

The membership of the SSPX should converge on Rome this week. They should, all together, crawl on hands and knees across St. Peter’s Square and stay there until the Pope will admit them. They should beg the Pope to let them kiss his shoe, accept their promises of obedience, and the regularize them before he resigns.

A lot of consequences to this act that has not occurred to people yet.

[thermometer raised=0 target=300 height =200 ]

It’s a new week and my goal each week is a $300 dollar paycheck. The question if I get one or not? That’s up to you.




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