At first, when another teacher said that Pope Benedict would resign at the end of the month, I thought it was an Onion spoof.
But, I checked - it's really happening. Go to the Vatican site , and see for yourself.
I'm flabbergasted. I never expected this.
But, I'm going to think of it as an opportunity. It's a chance for a new breeze to blow through the Church walls.
Several things occurred to me:
- Compared to the Cardinals from the JPII era, the Cardinals have been through intensive scrutiny re: the Child Abuse Scandals. Those that stayed, have been vetted.
- The Church has retired many of the most egregious "Vatican-Lite" personnel. Those that remain are, generally, committed to upholding Church teachings, even against opposition.
- The retirement will bring in new blood at a time when the Church needs to stand firm, opposing the US Government's intrusion into the policies of its hospitals and other charitable organizations. It's going to be a battle, I suspect straight to the US Supreme Court. (After that, if the answer is not favorable, it may have to go to the Ultimate Supreme Court of God). Both Clergy and Laymen will be tested, and will have to show their backbone.
- This may set a GOOD precedent. In a time when the clergy of a parish have to retire at a certain age. it's probably a good idea to have SOME sense that the head of the Church might want to pack it in at some time. It's a good argument for basing PART of the vote on the candidate's age. That being said, I'd rather have SOME older people than younger - it truly depends on the individual.
- Perhaps some orders of priests and nuns might want to consider this precedent, as well. Leadership in the modern age demands a lot of the leaders - both physically and mentally. There are a few of them that might want to re-think their roles in light of this announcement.
I'm choosing to look at this as a GOOD thing.