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 …