Some thoughts about Pope Benedict’s impending resignation

In no special order…

  • My 2013 prediction, #3?  Wow.  Was I wrong or what?
  • There are some men who ought to be cardinals who aren’t and there is at least one who is who shouldn’t be.  Mahony get’s to vote and Chaput doesn’t?
  • What does this mean for the SSPX?
  • Benedict knows his Augustine.  When the Vandals were coming and as Augustine lay dying, he wrote to the priests and nearby bishops urging them not to flee, not to abandon their people.
  • Liberals have been howling that Benedict is an ultra-conservative throwback, which was absurd on the face of it.  How risible is that claim now?
  • Is the Holy Father going to create a few more cardinals before 8 p.m. on 28 February?
  • Card. Husar turns 80 on 26 February. Card. Kasper on 5 March. Card. Poletto on 18 March.
  • In Dante’s Divine Comedy, in the Inferno, it is probable that the one whom Dante said “made the great refusal” was the Pope who resigned, Peter Celestine – whose resignation paved the way for Boniface VIII.
  • A priest friend sent an email: “Suddenly Frodo saw before him a black chasm. At the end of the hall, the floor vanished and fell to an unknown depth. The outer door could only be reached by a slender bridge of stone, without kerb or rail, that spanned the chasm with one curving spring of fifty feet….They could only pass across it single file. At the brink Gandalf halted and the others came up in a pack behind.” — The Bridge of Khazad-dûm
  • Does the Pope know something we don’t know about TEOTWAWKI?
  • The Pope resigned on the World Day for the Sick (Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes).
  • The Pope in one of his interviews with Peter Seewald said that when a Pope is unable to fulfill his duties, he should resign.
  • When the Pope visited the tomb St. Pope Peter Celestine he took off his pallium and left it on the tomb:
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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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48 Responses to Some thoughts about Pope Benedict’s impending resignation

  1. The Masked Chicken says:

    He is, likely, the last pope to have direct connections with Vatican II and can offer some sort of authentic interpretation based on the mind of the legislators. It is a pity he did not lay out some guidelines for interpretation of the few ambiguities in it. The next pope begins the, “Product of Vatican II, ” line of popes. That should be interesting from an historical point of view.

    The Chicken

  2. vox borealis says:

    As I posted elsewhere:

    My main concern is that this will be used as a club by critics against later popes. Any time something goes wrong, or some scandal erupts, or there is some perceived grievance, the usual sources will start clamouring for the pope to resign…and then they’ll cite Benedict XVI as a precedent. I can just see it now, the Hans Küng types invoking Benedict to beat up some future pope and push for his resignation.

    I’m really torn. There was a real value, I thought, to John Paul II remaining pope until natural death, as a witness against the culture of death. Plus, I really like Benedict XVI and there is so much unfinished business, it seems.

    I guess we can only trust in the Holy Spirit.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    I wish people would not be going to these false seers. This is a time for cool heads. The Archbishop of Liverpool was eloquent and surprised. Some of the comments here in Europe have been very generous in praise.

    I think that the Pope does know more than we do regarding the future, as he is a holy man. But, he trusts in the Holy Spirit. I posted the long list of cardinals from wiki on my blog. I am hoping that many of those are orthodox. We know the exact time for his stepping down. We should pray and fast this Lent for the best Pope ever.

    I am very concerned about the future of the SSPX as I am close to many in that group.

    Very concerned.

    I am not worried, as we all know on this blog that history is speeding up and that persecution is coming fast and furious.

    No pun intended.

    We shall be one month only without a Pope. and we should all pray.

    I am under the impression from Cormac that Benedict had suggested to Bl. John Paul II to resign earlier than he did. And, this Pope did make comments about this.

  4. momoften says:

    I think we are all in shock, but this is not the time to speculate as to why, worry about
    ramifications of this in future papacies, or anything. Concern yes, prayers, absolutely-
    now is the time for prayer, and penances, and fasting. God will provide.

  5. Prof. Basto says:

    Father,

    Regarding Cardinals Husar, Kasper and Poleto, it is perhaps important to remember that, under the Law of the Church, Cardinals who turn 80 during the Sede Vacante can still participate in the Conclave. The laws of the Church state that Cardinals who are older than 80 when the vacancy of the Apostolic See begins, are excluded from the Conclave.

    The Vacancy of the Holy See will begin at 8:00 p.m. Rome Time on February 28th, 2013. Accordingly, Kasper and Poleto will be able to participate, but Husar won’t.

    It is perhaps also important to note that the pope has not merely “stated his intention” of resigning. The Pope has already actually resigned the See of Peter, but has stipulated that his resignation will be effective on February 28th, 2013, at 8:00 p.m., when the Vacancy of the Holy See will begin. The necessary juridical declaration has already been made. The Pope took the care of making it formally, before an Ordinary Public Consistory, today, February 11th, 2013, and after reading his Declaration he handed to Cardinal Sodano (the Dean of the Sacred College) the written and signed document containing the Declaration of Abdication. The written document is actually dated Feburary 10th, 2013. With the formality of making the announcement in the presence of an Ordinary Public Consistory, and particularly by making the formal declaration in the present tense (“declaro”) it is clear that the resignation is already an accomplished juridical act, that is for the moment ineffective, and that will become effectively automatically once the term of days, the lapse of time, established by the Pope is reached. No additional documents will need to be signed, and no additional statements made.

  6. Gus Barbarigo says:

    I believe Cardinal Rigali, formerly Abp. of Philadelphia, still gets to vote in the conclave. Is that why Abp. Chaput does not have a red hat? I hope His Holiness can make an exception and add Chaput to the College before the boom drops on Feb.28. Kyrie Eleison!

  7. czemike says:

    Is it too early to recommend a crusade of prayer, fasting, and such for the election of Cardinal Burke?

  8. Laura98 says:

    I am still quite shocked over the news… and very sad. I have been concerned about the Holy Father’s health for a while. I too hope that future Pope’s are not snagged on resignation the moment they sneeze.

    We must simply trust the Holy Spirit to lead the Church in the right direction. We must continue to pray for Pope Benedict XVI and for his successor.

  9. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    Vox,

    we should never be so concerned about how an appropriate move might be used against us. Benedict is well within his rights to resign, and if I am no selfish, it is probably the best move for him. It has been clear for a while that the pressure and stress of the office was taking its toll on him physically. Scheduling days of rest on trips, using the moving platform down church aisles, moving “midnight” mass earlier and earlier. Also his comment about “rapid changes” leads me to wonder if he doesn’t want someone at least mildly more in touch with new technologies. He did his best for the people around him, but it was pretty clear he wouldn’t have started tweeting of his own accord.

  10. Nathan says:

    Like most here, I’m in shock as well. A preliminary response to one of Fr Z’s thoughts above–while the Holy Father can do as he pleases between now and February 28 regarding members of the College of Cardinals, wouldn’t it be more likely that he would deliberately do nothing at this point, so as to avoid the appearance of unduly influencing his successor’s election?

    In Christ,

  11. Prof. Basto says:

    Link to the “Rome Reports” video of today’s Consistory. The video, without commentary, shows Pope Benedict reading his Declaration of Resignation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TzAC5tGJ_Nk

  12. mamajen says:

    I am confused that so many people are concerned about this resignation setting a precedent. Do you have so little faith in the papacy that you really think a bunch of people shouting for resignation will cause future popes to cave? Ridiculous.

  13. Jack Orlando says:

    What does this mean for the SSPX? I said after Felley’s speech on Dec 28th (1) that it’s over for the regularization of the SSPX, and (2) that we should stop wasting energy and blog space speculating or lamenting. I’m now not going to take my own advice.

    The SSPX has until 8pm on Feb 28th to sign. Let’s pray. If they don’t, then #1 becomes final. Benedict as Pope is/was the SSPX’s last chance. I hope that I’m wrong.

  14. MarylandBill says:

    I would say I was in shock…. but that would be more unnecessary than saying water is wet. The entire world, Catholic and otherwise is in a state of shock.

    As I meditate on Father Z’s reference to Augustine, I can’t help but think that there is a fine line between a abandoning their people and recognizing one is no longer capable of fulfilling the the tasks that are required of him. While John Paul II’s long twilight was an inspiring example of enduring suffering with grace and faith, even he lost some his effectiveness as a leader (except by example) during his last few years. Perhaps Benedict feared (with justification I think) that he might suffer some debilitating attack that would leave him alive (and still Pope) but unable to minister to the Church or to resign and thus leave the Church without a rudder in a period when it needs clear direction. Benedict has struck me as being very thoughtful, holy and wise. I don’t believe he would have done this for his own good, only because he really believes it is for the good of the Church.

  15. Jon says:

    Speaking of our friend Hans, he had this to say this morning. For the first time ever, I pray his fears are justified!

    Kung called the step “understandable for many reasons”. The 84-year-old, who worked with Benedict in southern Germany in the 1960s, added: “It is to be hoped however, that Ratzinger will not exercise an influence on the choice of his successor.”

    He repeated his past criticisms of the pope, saying: “During his time in office he has ordained so many conservative cardinals, that amongst them is hardly a single person to be found who could lead the church out of its multifaceted crisis.”

  16. JKnott says:

    Very good point @MarylandBill said: “Perhaps Benedict feared (with justification I think) that he might suffer some debilitating attack that would leave him alive (and still Pope) but unable to minister to the Church or to resign and thus leave the Church without a rudder in a period when it needs clear direction. Benedict has struck me as being very thoughtful, holy and wise. I don’t believe he would have done this for his own good, only because he really believes it is for the good of the Church.”

    The other Pope who resigned:
    http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j218sd_PeterCelestine_05_19.html

  17. MarylandBill says:

    I remember when Blessed John Paul II was in his last hours of his earthly life, it was discussed by the media. The irony of modern medicine is that we can keep people alive far longer than we could have in the past, but sometimes that life leaves them without any effective way of interacting with the world.

    Just a thought, Every other priest and bishop in the world has to submit a resignation at the age of 75 (which can be denied). Cardinals can no longer vote in the conclave at the age of 80, by making it to 85, perhaps the Pope has set a reasonable precedent for the retirement of a Pope.

  18. MarylandBill says:

    Actually, right after I posted that, I realized, I only know that priests in the U.S.A. need to submit their retirement at 75, so please be gentle in correcting me if I am in error. :)

  19. LisaP. says:

    One major difference between today’s world and that of 500 years ago is predictive medical testing.

  20. I would very much doubt the holy father will create any cardinals at this point. It seems to me he would be very low profile at this point. After all, it was his choice to resign. If he wanted to remain in the arena, he could have.

    If the SSPX were to sign, I wonder if he’d say, now that’s up to my successor?

  21. lucaslaroche says:

    My Vocation Director summed up Benedict’s resignation very poignantly via text message this morning. “It is brave, bold, humble, generous , and historical”

  22. The Egyptian says:

    May his soul be content, his heart light, Bless him for all time, a great man.

    I believe after reading much about him as a man, he never really wanted the job, never sought it, yet humbly accepted and did his best, and wonderfully so. I also believe that his witness of his close friend JPII’s decline and death weighs on him, being he is a very private man he does not want the attention and speculation

    I pray we are presented with a new pope with a strong hand and a warm heart for I feel that Benedict has been battling factions in the “Vatican” and the church as a whole that did not like his ideas and have wearied him greatly, including the resistance to the Old Rite, the dragging of feet so to speak in the acceptance of the Anglican Ordinate and I really do believe a systematic effort to kill the unification of the SSPX.

    Hopefully the new Pope will have the courage and will to bring factions in line and do as he wishes and maybe as he orders. Benedict preferred to lead by example which works for those who are willing to follow but sometimes a shepherd must use his staff to discipline the wayward sheep so to speak. (spoken as a dairy farmer who faces the not so willing to be led on a daily basis)

    Also I read that his doctors have insisted no more long foreign travel, World Youth Day may also be a factor in his timing as well ?? Not the decision as a whole but the timing.

    May he be content and face his declining years peacefully

    And after all he is German, a practical and stoic race, may he have peace in his decision

  23. pmullane says:

    After Initial shock at the news, I have become more serene than I think I was at the time of John Paul II’s death over what this succession will mean for the future of the Church. I am in grief for the passing of a great papacy, and have reflected on some of his great achievements (Summorum Pontificum, the Ordinariate, etc). Also, I have concern for Benedict the man, he obviously faces his final journey in this life, and I hope the Lord spares him much suffering. Prayers for him.

    Remember, however, Summorum Pontificum is the law of the Church, the Extraordinary Form is free. It would take a positive act by a future Pope to abrogate the ancient form of the Mass, something that wasn’t done even in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Furthermore, people worry about the conclave and who it could elect. Fair point but, remember, the college of Cardinals are the ‘Benedictine’ Cardinals added to the conclave that elected Benedict. We could be surprised, but I have faith in the College, they are in large part good and Holy Men.

    Many people have expressed concern for the SSPX and their negotiations, and I feel that this may be a valid concern. Benedict has been an ‘open door’ to the SSPX, and has done as much as he could do to reunite them to Holy Mother Church. I dont see another Pope wasting time and energy on the scale that Benedict has, basically they have been given everything and refused to come back, no Pope could give them more. Benedict has done everything he can for them, and in this worldly sense he has failed (unless we see some movement from them in the next few weeks). I expect that the SSPX question will be left hanging, if they come back they come back, but they impetus will be lost. Also, the bishops of the SSPX are growing old as well. Will the Society Ordain new Bishops, against the will of the Pope? Will this bring on the definative break with Rome? Please God no. Perhaps Benedict has done all he can in this life, and one day when he is raised to the Altars he will be able to have a greater influence on hard hearts.

    Thank you Holy Father for your love and care to us.

    Thank you Holy Father for your courage in speaking the truth.

    Thank you Holy Father for keeping us safe from the wolves.

    Thank you Holy Father for being our father and our teacher.

    Thank you Holy father for appointing Good and Holy men to be our Bishops.

    Thank you Holy Father for visiting our country.

    Thank you Holy Father for giving your life to Christ for Souls.

    Thank you Holy Father for taking on the burden of the fisherman when you wanted to return to the quietness of your youth.

    Thank you Lord for the great gift to us of your servant Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI.

  24. AngelGuarded says:

    Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon Thy servant, Benedict, our Supreme Pontiff, and direct him, according to Thy loving-kindness, in the ways of eternal salvation; that, of Thy gift, he may ever desire that which is pleasing unto Thee and may accomplish it with all his might. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

  25. sw85 says:

    Is anyone aware of any good prayers for inspiration of a Papal conclave? Maybe a collect used in a votive Mass for that intention or something?

  26. Prof. Basto says:

    What about the Encyclical on the Faith (http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/papal-encyclical-on-faith-announced)?

    Will it be scrapped, or will the current Pope release it before his resignation takes effect?

  27. Tom Ryan says:

    One of the Holy Father’s first acts was to change the requirement for voting from 50% +1 back to a 2/3 vote.
    I’m a little more comfortable with that

  28. Pingback: Pope St Celestine V | Catholicism and Adventism

  29. Joboww says:

    Might be a little soon but what are some good names for the next Holy Father? Im thinking a Sixtus is in order, IMO

  30. Legisperitus says:

    For what it’s worth, the SSPX have issued a press release:

    http://www.sspx.org/superior_generals_news/on_pope_benedict_xvi_resignation_2-11-2013.htm

    2-11-2013 | DICI

    The Society of St. Pius X has learned of the sudden announcement about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, which will be effective on the evening of February 28, 2013.

    Despite the doctrinal differences that were still evident on the occasion of the theological talks held between 2009 and 2011, the Society of St. Pius X does not forget that the Holy Father had the courage to recall the fact that the Traditional Mass had never been abrogated, and to do away with the canonical sanctions that had been imposed on its bishops following their consecration in 1988. It is not unaware of the opposition that these decisions have stirred up, obliging the pope to justify himself to the bishops of the whole world.

    The Society expresses its gratitude to him for the strength and the constancy that he has shown toward it in such difficult circumstances, and assures him of its prayers for the time that he wishes to devote from now on to recollection.

    Following its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the Society of St. Pius X reaffirms its attachment to eternal Rome, Mother and Instructress [Mater et Magistra] of Truth, and to the See of Peter. It reiterates its desire to make its contribution, according to its abilities, to resolving the grave crisis that is shaking the Church. It prays that, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the cardinals of the next conclave may elect the pope who, according to the will of God, will work for the restoration of all things in Christ (Eph 1:10).

    Menzingen, February 11, 2013,
    on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

  31. StJude says:

    God Bless Pope Benedict. I converted during his papacy.

    He is 86. I think he loves the church so much, he wants to do the right thing by her . Maybe he feels something is coming that needs someone with more strength. I dont know… but I love and respect him. Must have been a hard decision for him.

    God is in control here and God is always good.

  32. The Masked Chicken says:

    The only thing I hope is that the Culture of Death does not take this resignation as a sign that they were in anyway right about end-of-life issues. While a debilitated pope is not what the world needs right now, given the convulsions of moral and practical evils that are occurring in the current world, I hope that Pope Benedict can make it clear that he is not leaving because of quality of life issues, but, rather that the Office needs a younger man to wrestle with the Beast.

    The Chicken

  33. the_ox says:

    I think people focus too much on temporal spinnings like this. Christ is the head of the chuch – what more is there to say? Prayers for a pope that ‘is orthodox’ or will ‘support our side’ I believe are misguided and simply reflect a focus on the politics of the church. Pray for yourselves, your children, the souls in purgatory, and sinners like me. Christ has got the church under control and whatever comes will come.

  34. Gregg the Obscure says:

    There’s a high likelihood that the next pope will have been ordained a priest in the OF. Sadly even that could be yet another distraction to the reconciliation of some traditionalists.

    I read on another blog about the Lenten Spiritual Exercises of the Holy Father, “Per custom, the exercises take place through the first week of Lent (17-23 February), during which the Vatican offices are closed and all events suspended. ” So this brief interval between the announcement and its effect may be quite unenventful.

    Perhaps I’m overly sensitive, but the calls to pray for any particular man to be elected as the next pope strikes me as unseemly. Praying for a holy pope, a wise pope, a pope well-disposed toward the historic treasury of the Church, that’s all good. Seeking after one particular man appears to belittle the role of the Holy Spirit and to excessively elevate one’s own personal preferences.

  35. VexillaRegis says:

    Fr.Z,
    when I read your list of predictions for 2013 , that you thought Benedict XVI would still be our pope, my immediate reaction was: “No he will resign.”

  36. chonak says:

    That pallium he left at St. Celestine’s tomb: was that the odd-looking outsized one designed by Marini vecchio?

  37. jbosco88 says:

    Maybe now is the time for Curial reform? Elderly Popes seem to have avoided this due to its difficulty and stress.

    On a slightly selfish note, I will always view Benedict XVI as “the” Pope – I converted during his papacy, especially encouraged by the direction he was leading the Church.

    May the visions of St John Bosco be accurate, that the Church continue to be anchored firmly in Christ and His Mother, the tempest navigated confidently by the Successor of Peter.

  38. Pingback: My reaction to the Holy Father’s announcement | Defend Us In Battle

  39. maryh says:

    Pope Benedict XVI is resigning the papacy. He is not dead. He considers himself to lack the strength to be the Pope. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t think he has the strength to influence the Church. It’s not unknown for an outgoing leader to remain available to help/advise the incoming leader in the secular world. Is there any reason this is inappropriate here?

    Why would he be “unduly” influencing the election of the next Pope by appointing more cardinals? Does he not have this right?

    And an interesting observation from Der Spiegel Online:
    … Die Suche nach einem Nachfolger dürfte schwierig werden, kaum jemand wagt sich aus der Deckung. Denn der scheidende Papst selbst verfolgt die Debatte.
    http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/ruecktritt-von-benedikt-xvi-skandale-intrigen-schwaeche-a-882656.html

    My translation: The search for a successor may be difficult, hardly anyone dares to stir from cover. For the Pope who is separating will be tracking / pursuing the debate himself.

    They certainly expect that the presence of the resigned Pope will effect the election of his successor, whether that was his intention or not.

  40. APX says:

    Unfortunately my cable channel selection is very limited, so I only have CBC news channel. After watching CBC, I’ve come to the conclusion that the media really can’t grasp the concept that the Conclave of Cardinals electing a new Pope isn’t the same as a Canadian Federal Election regardless of how many times they’re told it’s not a popularity contest. They’re really pushing for a Canadian Pope, and apparently the bookies are supporting the possibility.

    The news is really milking this story for all that it’s worth. I had the entertaining pleasure of watching an interview with Sr. Maureen Fiedler go on about her hopes that the next pope shows a “real respect for Vatican II”, and that “he, though it would be nice if the next pope would be a woman, bring the church into the 21st century with equality for women and allowing women’s ordination, and support gay rights”. She did make a point to point out that the Pope is a “very green pope”.

    Being CBC, I wouldn’t expect anything but liberalism.

  41. dans0622 says:

    If “the Vatican” wants to, it can still keep a secret.

  42. sciencemom says:

    the_ox said:
    Christ is the head of the chuch – what more is there to say? Prayers for a pope that ‘is orthodox’ or will ‘support our side’ I believe are misguided and simply reflect a focus on the politics of the church.

    Christ is the head of the Church, but we’d have to be pretty ignorant of history to say that who is Pope doesn’t matter. There have been bad popes in the history of the Church and those were bad times for the Church on earth. Orthodoxy in a Pope matters because the charism of infallibility is a negative protection — although the Pope is protected from teaching error, the charism won’t transform him into a champion of orthodoxy, something that is very much needed for the good of the faithful in this age of relativism, materialism, hedonism, and the culture of death.

    I think praying for a good, holy, and orthodox pope is quite different from praying for one who will “support our side” — and I haven’t seen anyone suggest the latter.

    Besides, as long as we offer our prayers — even if misguided — in the spirit of “Thy will be done,” God will use them for His good purposes.

  43. Gus Barbarigo says:

    “Does the Pope know something we don’t know about TEOTWAWKI?”

    Perhaps a supernatural chastisement, or major world event, but not *The* End of the World itself, is part of the picture. Pope Benedict did beatify Sister Elena Aiello, on the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross, and on the 4th Anniversary of his Summorum Pontificum:

    http://www.summorumpontificum.net/2011/09/for-fourth-anniversary-of-summorum.html

    Sister Aiello had made prophecies concerning a Great Chastisement, which had some similarity to the words of Our Lady of Akita, which as head of CDF, then Cardinal Ratzinger was highly involved (I cannot imagine that investigating such an apparition would not leave a tremendous life impression).

    Considering the above, along with the Pope’s repeated warnings about persecution from civil authorities, it’s reasonable to wonder what the Pope might have heard about other eye-brow raisers, like DHS buying millions of rounds of non-practice ammo (but claiming they are for practice) and unusual stock market gyrations (2-6-2013: Some Trader Has Made A Very Big Bet That Something Very Bad Will Happen Within The Next 60 Days):

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2985834/posts

    So perhaps the Pope expects the need of a pontiff closer to his physical prime for something historically extraordinary to come.

  44. Johnno says:

    “Does the Pope know something we don’t know about TEOTWAWKI?”

    – He’s read the third secret of Fatima and warned us about the Last Things and tribulations for the Church ahead, of evil within and outside and the words of the virgin “spoken” that there’s big trouble ahead. What was revealed as the ‘third secret’ by the Vatican in 2000 was definitely not everything. With that, visions of Rome’s destruction, and the possible predictions of St. Malachi, and the warnings of Fatima and growing Communist errors thriving in Western Society, and our Lord’s admonition about seeing the changes in the wind and therefore seeing the obvious things that re happening, there sure are a lot of stars lining up in the night sky that indicate a very bumpy road ahead.

    Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation could be calculated in that he personally doesn’t want to lead the Church in such times, not out of cowardice, but because he knows he is frail and might even possibly know he’s dying and thus vacating the Papacy an an opportune time now rather than have the health issues followed by the politics surrounding a Papal election at a more inopportune time in the future. Perhaps he expects that his predecessor will hit the ground running. There’s been some kind of feeling that the future pope for such times will be a much younger man. He will likely be needed. Guess we’ll see…

  45. acardnal says:

    Below quoted from a CNS news story today:

    Pope Benedict had long said it would be appropriate for a pope to resign for the good of the church if the pontiff felt he were unable to physically bear the burden of the papacy.

    In his book-length interview, “The Light of the World,” with German journalist Peter Seewald, the pope said, “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.”

    The pope told the author that it was important, however, that the pope “must not run away” and “must stand fast and endure” any difficult situations that are facing the church. For that reason, he was not thinking of resigning in 2010 — the year the interviews were conducted.

    “One can resign at a peaceful moment or when one simply cannot go on,” the pope had said.

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1300560.htm

  46. APX says:

    I’ve been thinking, and I think the Pope has been planning this to some degree for awhile now. I recall Glen Beck’s video shortly after the Pope elected several cardinals which alluded to this moment.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNB469_sA3o

  47. jeff says:

    One thing I thought of: BXVI has done some fantastic things in the service of Tradition–SP&UE, Papal masses, establishment of a Latin Academy etc.

    It will be a lot harder for a modernist successor to undo his good work if he is still alive, pottering around some dusty library in the Vatican. Sure, he will die at some point, but his successor won’t have the same mandate to go and change things that he would have starting out with the old guy gone to his eternal reward.

  48. I think the Holy Father knows something we do not about what is coming, and he knows that the person to deal with it is to follow him. He is being spared that, yet he will see it begin.