Benedict XVI’s resignation 5 years on. Your thoughts.

Five years ago today, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would abdicate, effective 28 February.  My posts on that day.   HERE

Lightening struck the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Feast then, as today, of Our Lady of Lourdes.

I remember where I was when I heard the news.  I’ll be you do too.

Five years down the road, what are your thoughts about this monumental event?

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The Holy Father: ipsissimis verbis

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  1. Fallibilissimo says:

    Benedict has a special place in my heart. May God keep him and grant him many riches in His Kingdom. I’ve read him and admire his great intellect but above all it is the simple honesty of his faith which is the most beautiful and appealing to me.
    We love you Fr Benedict, and we are thankful that God you to us.

  2. rwj says:

    At the time, I accepted his explination of age and fatigue because of the munus of his office. It has become apparent there is and was much more below the surface, artificially straining the man into this position. I can only speculate he may have felt alone and tapped into his memories of JPII’s infirmity…just not having one like himself to rely upon.

    It’s just too difficult for me to separate BXVI’s resignation from our present manifest disaster. Sure, what if the Conclave produced a faithful successor? Not reality. No alternative universe is real. I personally believe the resignation was the work of man and devised by man, not the inspiration of God. Now only in God’s providence will any good come of it, as it certainly has brought so much evil within the church to the attention of many.

    I will always love Pope Benedict, and am grateful for the great things he has done, some of which are still in effect, but regret that renouncing his office didn’t remain an acedemic proposal kept in his heart and mind.

  3. erick says:

    Being 45 years old, the only popes I had ever known were JP II and B XVI. Maybe I was spoiled. I miss them both.

  4. Felipe says:

    I was sleeping when my brother text me the sad news. I felt like I was in a bad dream. I miss him being on the throne of St Peter. I miss looking forward to hearing the pontiff preach. Thank you Cardinal Ratzinger for becoming Pope Benedict XVI. Thank you for Summorum Pontificum

  5. dbonneville says:

    1) His public explanation was in the form of a mental reservation.

    2) His reason for abdication was to be alive and constrain or limit the evil his successorwould likely do. That is why he kept the white.

    That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. Evil is kept in check until he who restrains is taken away. Perhaps.

  6. ChesterFrank says:

    I liked Pope Benedict’s papacy. I especially liked that he was an author, I started reading his books while he was pope. I had also read some of John Paul II books, and those of pope Francis but neither of them were as prolific in writing as Benedict. With Benedict I liked his approach to tradition, he didnt fully abandon Vatacin II in his approach to tradition ore vice versa. I benefited from his scholarship. In regards to his resignation, I look at that in light of John Paul II. John Paul II defined what natural death was in an era of abortion and euthenasia. His papacy was a profound statement on the sanctity of life . Benedict did the same, but he desided how he would fufill his papacy in his lifetime. He still guides and serves the Church, and will do so until the natural conclusion of his life. I have to think that if Benedict guided John Paul in his papacy to its conclusion, Benedict has also been offering guidance to Francis since the begining of his papacy. Maybe Benedict is the ideal model of apastolic succession?

  7. I read the news over a news feed. I remember thinking: I didn’t pray enough for him. Not that I took responsibility for his abdication upon myself, but that I didn’t do my bit enough to help him as I should have.

    I see the abdication and everything that has followed as a chastisement that I pray ends soon.

  8. Josephus Corvus says:

    I heard it on the radio on my way to work. My thought at the time was that he had received some type of unpleasant diagnosis and didn’t want the media falling all over themselves every time he cleared his throat or got the sniffles. I actually thought he had 3-6 months. Now, after 5 years of relatively good health, I sometimes think the Lord has given him those years to see the “results” of his abdication.

  9. Mike says:

    It’s impossible for me to reconcile the man, his Papacy, his stated reasons for renouncing the throne, and what’s ensued. I do believe that Catholics have been tried with a diabolically dishonest Church establishment for the past two generations, not just the past five years. And that whatever we haven’t been told about the Third Secret of Fatima (which I think is much) is being revealed before our eyes.

  10. Chris in Maryland 2 says:

    I was stunned, like a child hearing that his father had suddenly died.

    Even before he was Pope, Joseph Ratzinger was becoming a father to me, in his role as head of the CDF. Having read dozens of books about the liturgical crisis, trying to get beneath the superficial narratives to the evidence, I had read Msgr. Gamber and Laszlo Dobszay and Alcuin Reed and on and on. At the same time, I was reading essays from Fr. Schall and Fr. Fessio at CWR, TCT and Adoremus and other sites from Fr. Schall and Fr. Fessio etc etc etc. They all in turn pointed forward to Joseph Ratzinger. I began reading Ratzinger directly, and I felt “here is a man of great intellect who is a light for Christ and the Church.” When he became Pope I was overjoyed.

    I bought and read at least a dozen of his books, his Intro, his Spirit of the Liturgy, and of course his Jesus of Nazareth.

    When he reigned I was a happy warrior, knowing I had a great captain leading me, come what may. I was proud to be a Catholic man under Benedict.

    His resignation was like a second death of my father, who died young, when I was a very young man. I realized recently – Benedict is my own father’s age.

    I miss him…and I wish he had not resigned…but The Lord will take all things and make them well…so I soldier on…despite the horrifying pontificate now poisoning the Church. But I trust Fr. Weinandy is right…The Lord intends to expose the shallowness of the Church right now.

    It is a time of grief. But a time also for fasting, prayer, courage and dogged hope.

  11. thomistking says:

    Pope Benedict is someone that I deeply love, because he was the first truly wise man I ever had an intellectual encounter with (I was 13 when he was elected). It pains me to see people question his decision to step down. Although the last five years have been painful, we must ultimately trust Pope Benedict’s decision. He is much wiser and holier than I am. We must simply trust that Christ will not abandon His Church — as Cardinal Cafarra said shortly before his death. God’s providence is not something we can understand, but our faith will sustain us through these present trials.

  12. Arele says:

    Thank you for including that lightening struck the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. And for including a picture of same. I remember seeing that picture and feeling a deep sense of foreboding and that it was a sign from God.

  13. Papal Fan says:

    I woke up. A classmate texted me the news. I refused to believe it. I saw in on the news. I believed it with a broken heart. I went to class. It was an awkward conversation starter.

    From Feb. 11th to Bergoglio’s ascension, I had to endure the mockery I read and heard from the enemies of the Church. March 13th arrived and things did not get better for me.

    Since then, I have still not gotten over it, but I accept it as an event that did occurred.

    Recently, I finished reading Morris West’s THE CLOWNS OF GOD, which dealt with a similar story about a pope resigning. Notwithstanding the reason as to why the character abdicated, it was a bit surreal realizing that another idea from West’s book came true.

  14. Kathleen10 says:

    Only God and he know exactly why he did it. For whatever reason, internal or external, he seemed to feel himself a lame duck pope, I remember when he told someone his “authority stopped right there” (his door). Beyond a shadow of a doubt we see what kind of men fill the Vatican, so we can surmise things.
    He fled for fear of the wolves and the wolves are devouring his children, the church, and the faith.

  15. Benedict Joseph says:

    The election of Joseph Ratzinger was positively thrilling – it fulfilled my deepest hopes for the Church at that juncture. His resignation was shattering. Nothing has gotten better since that fateful day. I am always prepared for the other shoe to drop.
    Now I ask, “How many pairs could anyone own?”
    Rarely able to foresee what is ahead with any accuracy, on February 11, 2013 I sure did, and I spent time in prayer during the month between the resignation and the conclave asking our Lord to spare us, but He saw fit in His Providence to ignore my design. In Eternity all will be clear.
    A naïve at heart, I continue to hope that Pope Benedict has insured that posthumously a credible explanation for what has transpired will be forthcoming – with a manful correction of those who have taken the Barque into the most precarious of seas.
    My powers of clairvoyance tell me that that expectation will too be shattered. It is rare indeed that a know-it-all like me desperately prefers to be wrong.
    The last five years have significantly altered my perspective on ecclesial life, confirming my worst fears. While this half-decade has provided some very dark moments faith and devotion not only survive but with renewed vigor – if with an ever deeper skepticism regarding human beings.
    We are indeed a fallen race, but even that commonplace is challenged now that our personal conscience takes primacy over revealed Truth by episcopal declaration.
    No one can deny there be an idol placed on the altar in this desert.

  16. frjim4321 says:

    So, you all know I would have a contrarian position, so why rub it in at this point. Personally, I think that JP2 and B16 were way off base with respect to the matter of women’s ordination; so I respect them as brother priests, but I don’t long for a return to their particular brand of ecclesiology. Also, contrary to my bishop friend, I think SP was a catastrophic blunder. We agree to disagree for friendship’s sake. As a brother priest though, I would welcome either of these former popes into my home and share table with them, if they were both living and able to travel. One of the wonders of this brotherhood is that you can disagree with others, but still break bread with them.

  17. JesusFreak84 says:

    It felt like a kick in the gut. It still does, especially as I watch men like Cardinal Cupich get elevated, all while winking and nodding to the LGBT folks knowing he’ll get away with it, while holy Cardinals like Burke and Zen are ignored or worse.

  18. benedetta says:

    My heart sank hearing the news that day. I felt terribly sad and worried. With respect to those feelings about the future without him, I still have not yet felt reassured.

  19. bobbird says:

    One of the theories was that there would be a major scandal of sex abuse that would hold him accountable. Bad guess. If he was tired and elderly and felt that he was not “up to” the job, he ought to have remembered that in 2,000 years, not one pope has ever suffered from senility. If he felt his Cross was too heavy to carry … it is easy to understand that, but we ARE told to stick it out. He probably knew things that we will never know. But there is NO DOUBT in my mind: PF is the worst pope in history, and it would appear that we are in apocalyptic times. Mind you, only APPEAR. What do I know? Only the Father does.

  20. Danteewoo says:

    Best pope since Pius XII. He asked us to pray that he wouldn’t flee because of the wolves, but we must not have prayed enough. I think he did indeed flee; God knows the details. And I’m not even sure that he isn’t still the pope. Whatever the case, a monstrous wolf is now reigning.

  21. trespinos says:

    Although I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing when Pope Benedict’s resignation was announced on the media, I do vividly remember my surprise and my sorrow, and my immediate casting about for a reason which would make sense of his action. Rather quickly I concluded what Josephus Corvus has already mentioned here, that Benedict truly believed his health was deteriorating so rapidly that his time was short and, having observed close up how the Roman Curia worked, or didn’t work, under the last years of the severely ill Pope John Paul II, he wanted someone more vigorous than himself to take the tiller quickly and keep the Bark of Peter steering around the rocks just ahead. I’ll never believe he thought that the Cardinal electors would choose as they did, though with his piercing intellect, I think he pretty quickly realized that the steersman they chose was more inclined to head towards the rocks than away from them, although being completely willing to give Francis credit for any good actions he was taking.

    The videos of him in the immediate aftermath of his resignation did indeed seem to show him failing; but the Lord had a different ending waiting for him and us and I hope some day we will learn more than we have been given to suspect–by his careful statements–how he has used the extra years granted to him to try to correct Pope Francis’ course, in whatever freedom he has had to do so, and to encourage those such as the four dubia Cardinals to do their part. Finally, though, it may have only fallen to him to influence things by his prayers, as he said was his desire. In God’s time, not ours perhaps, those prayers of the Doctor Pellucidus will have their effect.

  22. Amante de los Manuales says:

    Q: “Five years down the road, what are your thoughts about this monumental event?”

    Generally, I don’t think it was something good for the Church, and now I’m unsure that what we saw was even an abdication.

  23. Ave Crux says:

    My brother called to tell me and time seemed to stop. I was stunned….

    We had all been rejoicing in the growing sense of stability, normalcy, and gradual return of Tradition that was taking place under Pope Benedict XVI.

    Overnight our hopes for the growing evidence of restoration within the Church were shattered.

    Since that moment, each day brings another sword through the heart, and sometimes it feels as though the ongoing demolition of the Church before our very eyes is just too great a burden to continue bearing.

    But… It is this martyrdom of the heart which we offer to God just as Mary did with the Seven Swords which pierced Hers…

  24. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Five years ago exactly, the shepherd who had been leading his sheep from a barren scrub had reached the point where pastures were a short way off. Then he saw wolves on the horizon. His courage failed him, and he ran away, leaving the sheep to be torn to shreds within sight of the feeding ground.

  25. David Collins says:

    I was surprised, but then I moved on. No big deal, really. Anyway, if Christ had wanted us to have a say in how His church is run, He’d have given it to us.

  26. HvonBlumenthal says:

    But Christ does want us to have a say when the Church is run contrary to his teaching. And he has given us the opportunity by giving us many precedents, beginning with the time when St Paul opposed Peter to his face.

  27. Grant M says:

    Will ye no come back again?
    Will ye no come back again?
    Better lo’ed ye canna be…
    Will ye no come back again?

  28. Fallibilissimo says:

    frjim4321, I can certainly understand how some come to question St JPII’s or Benedict’s positions on matters regarding the prudential management or policy matters of the Church. But women’s ordination? I don’t understand. Isn’t that defined Church teaching?

    In other words, isn’t that a matter that hasn’t to do with the mind of the Pope’s per se, but instead a matter on which Our Lord has chosen for us? If one has a problem with such a teaching, to me it sounds like the problem isn’t with any priest, bishop or pope but rather an issue to be taken up with God. No?
    What can even a willing pope do where God, in His infinite wisdom, has already deliberated?

  29. ServusChristi says:

    From the eyes of the average Lay Catholic, who is not well informed, Pope Benedict did nothing in comparison to his successor JPII, In my mind, he was a conservative Pope and Summorum Pontificum was a great achievement of his and itself was a great stumbling block for liturgical liberals who thought the TLM ought to be placed in the past along with all the other decadent traditions of the church, many of whom we know are around Cardinal Sarah.

    On the other hand, I am left scratching my head over his commendation of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin in his work decades back. If you look at what the Holy Office did to the priest, it’s understandable why anyone would be left scratching their heads after reading his work: is he a scientist? a priest? a poet? maybe all of them and in between?

    I personally think that Pope Benedict saw this coming as much as of the hierarchy had been progressive for many decades and his efforts at exposing liberal nuns here in the states was severely impaired. What I think Pope Benedict should do in his remaining years is to use his microphone to speak to the status of the church and to call out error for what it is. This I know for a fact, after the Pope Emeritus dies, that will be the green light for Pope Francis to introduce more ‘reforms’ and start to beatify and canonize saints to advance his political agenda. I hope I didn’t sound like a doomsday prophet without a scintilla of faith, but the more I read on what’s coming out of this pontificate, the more I see a pattern.

  30. Sonshine135 says:

    To this day, I have a hard time understanding it. I do not know as much about Pope Benedict XVI as I wish I did. I do have to believe that he saw JPII’s struggles and thought that it would not be good, at least optically, for the church to have another Pope being carted down the isle of St. Peter’s. I also believe he did it with the best of intentions. I think we all miss black and white statements from the Vatican. I miss the real compassion of being told something is bad for my eternal soul, versus this lukewarm and milquetoast false compassion that we often get now.

  31. LarryW2LJ says:

    My thoughts? Honestly, it felt like a part of me died that day.

  32. PTK_70 says:

    “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.” [italics mine] – Pope Benedict

    Either you take him at his word, or you don’t. I take him at his word.

    Look, we can’t expect popes to conveniently die in their 70s anymore, not in this age of advanced medical knowledge and technology. The beloved Pope Emeritus did something which was going to have to be done by some pope before long. Monumental as it was, one hopes Summorum Pontificum prove even more so.

    Imagine the confident faith and inner peace required to step aside as he did! Nothing but undying admiration for the man from me.

    If someone doesn’t like what Pope Benedict did by stepping down, blame God and/or the brother of the pope emeritus, because he shared the decision with both of them beforehand.

  33. Titus says:

    It was terribly sad, and the results seem to have been calamitous. Like others, I heard it on the radio on the way to work and was stunned. It felt like the death of a family member.

    Frankly, the chaos of the last few years has done great damage, I think, to Benedict’s legacy. St. Celestine V was justly blamed for Boniface VIII. Benedict will be justly blamed for Francis.

    The pope may have the power to abdicate, but St. John Paul II was indisputably correct that he ought not do so.

  34. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I was in my 1st year of surgical residency when he announced his abdication… I heard the news while rounding at the VA Hospital in Indianapolis. I remember being quite confused (a state of inadequate confusion is a modus operandi of the surgical intern, so that wasn’t new….). I was quite disquieted by the historic event and had little historical perspective on the matter.

    I grew up during JP2′ papacy and evolved from an inconsistent cradle Catholic college student to a more internally consistent, married Catholic man with two children and a 3rd on the way during Benedict’s papacy. Benedict’s writings, his sense of history, his lucidity and cogency on liturgical matters were all integral in my maturation into a conscientious Catholic man. During his pontificate, I considered a possible vocation to the priesthood and even visited a seminary during undergraduate prior to getting married and starting med school….because of how Benedict’s love for the priesthood elevated that vocation in my eyes.

    As others have stated above, his abdication, a final fleeing for fear of wolves, was perhaps a sign of our failure to pray enough for his good. I am thankful, at least, that his writings and leadership (while we had it) helped many sheep like me to sharpen our teeth and hooves to fight the wolves that continue to surround us.

  35. Antonin says:

    I think it was an inspired decision. Agree with PTK 70 – would have to happen sooner or later given the increased life expectancy overall.

    I also think it was a great exercise of humility. The Church and the office does not “belong” to Joseph Ratzinger or Jorge Bergolia – it is bigger than both. And as St. Peter said, capturing the best leadership values “Depart from me O Lord for I am a sinful man”. We are all of us slaves and servants of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church and it is His Church to do with as he wills.

    If through discernment, Pope Benedict believed that he was to step aside, that is between him an our Lord.

    Let’s pray that not only the current Pope but also ourselves take to heart this example of what I see as true and authentic humility of Benedict XVI. Ironically, I personally think Benedict was the humble Pope. He knew his gifts and I think he understood early on that service in the pontificate was not one of them

  36. Akita says:

    I like your analysis.

  37. Akita says:

    You are wise beyond your years.

  38. taylorhall95 says:

    God bless Pope Benedict. Obviously, all things that happen are either actively or permissively willed by God in His Providence. Personally, I see this current pontificate as an actively willed chastisement of the members of the Church Militant, for our sins and for not holding to the Truth in the period leading up to, and certainly the period after, the Second Vatican Council. While it is truly said to see the moral breakdown prompted by the ambiguities of Amoris Laetitia, the legitimate concerns over sodomy in the Vatican and Pope Francis’ handling of the sex abuse crisis, I think this crisis has had the positive effect of separating sheep from the wolves. I have seen more and more people wake up to the crisis in the Church, and start asking questions about the liturgy (especially growing interest in the TLM), questions about the pastoral nature of the Second Vatican Council (what do the documents mean going forward? How binding are they on the faithful?), and remember that papal infallibility does not apply to most utterances of the Pope. Thus, while I see the abdication of Pope Benedict as a tragedy (though he must have had good reason for doing so), I clearly see the hand of God in what has followed.

  39. rbbadger says:

    I was still living in South Korea. I had gone up to Seoul for the weekend and was at the Seoul Central Bus Terminal awaiting my bus back to Busan. I was checking the internet and that is where I saw the news.

    It was profoundly saddening and each anniversary of this resignation has been profoundly saddening to me.

    I honestly tried my best to give his successor the benefit of every doubt. That is no longer possible. This resignation has brought me some of the deepest grief of my life.

  40. HvonBlumenthal says:

    As an ardent traditionalist, I see Benedict’s abdication as a great grace, because he was like an aspirin masking the pain of Vatican II. Now all those Conservatives who have been trying desperately to make excuses for the Council (« misinterpreted » « hijacked » « Don’t forget the fruits ») are coming to appreciate the awful truth. We have been granted what we needed: clarity.

  41. Aquinas Gal says:

    1. In his interview “Last Testament,” Benedict talks about his health and how he knew he couldn’t do World Youth Day. It bothers me that WYD should be a sort of requirement for being Pope; maybe we should do away with that. But, besides WYD, I think he had deeper concerns about his health and how that would prevent him from fulfilling his office.

    2. My personal theory is that despite everything, all of this is part of God’s plan. The election of PF has certainly sent the Church into a wild storm of confusion. But I believe this is a purifying storm, one that will test our faith for sure, and hopefully get us to truly trust in Jesus, not the human qualities of the pope. Let’s face it, with JP II and BXVI we were spoiled; but I trusted they were so sound that it was more of a human trust in some ways. With PF, I really have to make an act of deep faith that Jesus IS leading the Church, despite sleeping in the boat.

  42. HeatherPA says:

    I remember seeing the news and not believing it to be true, and I came to this blog to see if you had posted anything about it, and you had, confirming it. My heart dropped like a stone. I was very sad.

    I have prayed a lot more than ever for our Pope Emeritus and for Pope Francis, and is has been a difficult 5 years. I keep before me our Blessed Lord’s promise that the gates of Hell will not prevail. I read the Catechism regularly and a lot of the saints. I haven’t read much contemporary stuff, save for Cardinal Sarah’s work, Michael O’ Brien’s excellent writings and a few priests that I admire greatly. I admit that I don’t pay much attention to Pope Francis news because it disturbs my peace. I pray for the Church and her shepherds. We need to remember that the Lord told us we will be tried, refined, and purified. Social media can be really discouraging if we let it be.

  43. ususantiquor says:

    Last November there was an excellent (and I think important) post on Benedict’s resignation at a blog called That the Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill. I don’t know who the blogger is, but his observations made amazing sense to me. The post was called Pope Benedict XVI and The Great Reveal. The premise is that the removal of the one man whose faith, integrity and good will made us comfortable that the Catholic Church was in the trusted hands of a true Vicar of Christ, revealed the rot that was all there all along and against which Benedict struggled. By his resignation, truly asked of him in prayer (my opinion), the Lord has exposed the hierarchy–the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests–who, in hiding, have been working for the overthrow of the Church–for all to see.
    The post is worth a read! It’s at:

  44. Ben Kenobi says:

    Well, if I had to give a sermon on Benedict it would be on the constancy of our Lord and Savior and on the feebleness of man. I was shattered when I heard it. It made no sense then, and makes no sense now. I have seen recently over the past few days of this new year that many of those who were with God and strong in the Lord have fallen away. It gives me terrible grief to see Benedict sitting in the white when his successor carries on. It is like a man who has abandoned his family not knowing what will come of them, while another carries on and raises them. What must the children of the family think?

    I miss my father, I miss my papa Benedict greatly. He came in when I was confirmed. In my personal life, I can’t say that things are worse now than before. It is strange that it is often the worst times of the Church that force people to stand up for the Faith and for truth. I have seen that in many of my friends, that they have gotten much more serious about their beliefs since Benedict resigned. But it hurts all the same.

    It reminds me of my own duties and responsibilities that I must uphold and must carry through to the end.

  45. Hb says:

    As one of those awful rigid and inflexible priests, I sorely miss Pope Benedict XVI whom I regard with great fondness and affection – more so than Pope St. John Paul. Pope Benedict’s resignation was an unhappy surprise but given his age and how he was undermined throughout his papacy by others in the Vatican, it is understandable.
    Pope Benedict is an honest intellectual not an ideologue. He remains a man of humility, courage and great strength of character. May God continue to bless him.

    PS RbBadger you & I know each other from the seminary. Be well.

  46. David says:

    My chief thought is that I had absolutely no idea the chaos our saintly Pope Benedict was holding at bay. I only wish he had been led to continue in that role long enough for the “Spirit of Vatican II” cardinal to have been considered too old for service in high places.

  47. Uxixu says:

    I pray for God to forgive him for leaving the flock. I would have preferred he cancel the papal appearances at WYD, if not general audiences, and ensured the reconciliation with SSPX happened. Ah to imagine what might have been.

  48. PTK_70 says:

    @Uxixu et al….Perhaps the more salient question is: can you forgive the pope emeritus for renouncing the ministry of bishop of Rome?

    I pray that you do….and move on.

  49. JuliB says:

    I almost was in tears at work. I still grieve our great loss.

    I was an atheist for 25 years until God used Archbishop Sheen (thanks for the re-runs EWTN!) and B16 to bring me home to God and Church at the age 0f 40.

  50. stephen c says:

    God grants us what we seek in prayer.

    The thought has never crossed my mind that Father Ratzinger, whom we call Benedict XVI, cannot pray better than I ever could for the good of the church,

    and who knows what would have happened in Rome if Pope Benedict had not resigned? Look how successfully people with very little Christian love in their hearts manipulated Pope John Paul, with his powerful love for his church, when he was rendered feeble by age and sickness.

    Without disagreeing with anybody who wishes Pope Benedict had not resigned, I can’t believe that his prayers for the church – if he did the right thing by resigning – are not extremely powerful for our good, greatly outweighing by any measure the unChristian actions that others were able to achieve, to our harm, because he resigned; if he did the right thing, his prayers, supported by the entire suffering church, must be spectacularly powerful! And if he did the wrong thing, I don’t know him personally, but I feel certain that his repentance and the prayers he makes on behalf of us, his flock, in that repentance, are just as spectacularly powerful. I’m sure of that and I am not worried that I might be wrong.

    and here and now in 2018, when we live in a world blessed with so many recent martyrs and so many holy priests and bishops and cardinals, I have more hope than I did when – in my lifetime and possibly yours – we had people who are now canonized saints ruling as the Bishop of Rome .

  51. David Collins says:

    Wonderful testimony, JuliB. Thank you for that; turmoil or not, Christ still reigns.

  52. Spinmamma says:

    Pope Benedict abdicated on the eve of my baptism. Trust in his holiness and keen mind helped me in my beginning formation as a Catholic quite late in life. I was devastated at the news he had resigned–I watched the helicopter ride and texted my RCIA teacher (an MD) and he initially thought I was joking. I miss him and still grieve his loss. I am uplifted just at the sight of his beautiful face and white hair. I sometimes feel he abandoned us, but my rational self reminds me I really know very little about what actually happened. I do agree with others who have said his resignation has brought to light the deep rot in the upper levels of the Church, as well as shown us the strong and faithful ones who have spoken out (to their detriment.) I remind myself of other eras in the Church when the leadership was corrupt and seemed bent on destroying the Church. The Gates of Hell will not prevail, but it is fearsome to contemplate the wounding of Holy Mother Church that has already come to pass. It is comforting to know Pope Emeritus Benedict is constantly praying for us.

  53. David Collins says:

    HvonBlumenthal, St. Paul was a bishop.

  54. pbnelson says:

    “All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.” — Pangloss, in Voltaire’s Candide

    Voltaire wrote Candide as a mockery of Christian theodicy in response to the earthquake in Portugal that killed approximately 100,000 people, circa 1755. To some extent he merely created a straw-man. And yet, I hear echoes of that sentiment in so many of the Pollyannish posts here.

    Our lord said, “A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit… Thus you will know them by their fruits. (mat7:18)”

    So let me put a question to this list: what are the good fruits of Benedict’s resignation? Can you name five? And none of this “we don’t know how much worse it would have been had he stayed on” jabber, that’s just the kind of Panglossian evasion I’m so frustrated with. Seriously, after five years, what *good* has come from the resignation? I need help here, because this papacy is turning into a terrible trial of faith.

    So, please, in all charity, name five *good* fruits of the resignation. And no posting the *bad* fruits, I get enough of those every day.

    Here, I’ll even give you a couple *good* fruits to get started:

    1) The mainstream media is far less critical of the Pope, the Vatican and Catholicism than formerly.
    2) Moderate Catholics “in the pews” see more clearly the dangers of their liberal, apostate co-religionists.
    3) ???
    4) ???
    5) ???

    p.s. what doesn’t count:

    A) Routine (yet widely ignored by the MSM) inveighing against abortion and queer theory. This doesn’t count because of the “who am I to judge” gay-rights dog-whistling, and the Liliane Ploumen pro-abortion dog-whistling.
    B) Some moderate easing of restrictions on the SSPX breakaway traditionalists. This hardly counts, as Benedict would presumably have done even more.

  55. David Collins says:

    Dear pbnelson, are you in charge of or responsible for what goes on in the Church? If you aren’t, take a deep breath and leave it to Christ. He can handle it; your dismay will not help matters.

  56. pbnelson says:

    David Collins, I appreciate the advice. And I honestly try. But, you know, that doesn’t really answer the question. Unless someone can name a few good fruits of Benedict’s resignation I’m going to conclude it was a disaster all around. Not only because Pope Francis, God be with him, is such a mundane liberal. But also because Pope Benedict who I fairly adore has so manifestly let me down. That’s pretty much the story of my post-baby-boom generation — all the old guys walking away from their responsibilities and leaving us kids to cope as best we can with the wrack and ruin. What else can I conclude but that Pope Benedict wasn’t so great as I’ve believed? Thus the double scandal; both coming and going.

  57. PTK_70 says:

    @pbnelson….Let us not think of the renunciation as a “tree”, for a renunciation is a negative act and is rather more like the uprooting of a tree. Thus the more appropriate question, I submit, is “what foul or rancid fruit has been cut off or even prevented from coming into existence as a result of the renunciation?”

    The tree is the pontificate of the beloved Benedict XVI, which tree is still bearing fruit, all the more so inasmuch as Summorum has been left untouched.

    (Consider this: can anyone know for certain that Pope Benedict’s successor would have left Summorum untouched had the beloved pope emeritus reigned until death?)

  58. pbnelson says:

    PTK_70, thank you for your wonderful analogy of the uprooted tree. And I almost hate to mention it, but the “rules” of my request forbade exactly what you did. Please pardon the term “jabber”.

    And none of this “we don’t know how much worse it would have been had he stayed on” jabber, that’s just the kind of Panglossian evasion I’m so frustrated with.

    Lacking positive evidence it’s tempting to request one’s interlocutor to prove a negative. For example: how can anyone know for certain that Benedict’s natural successor wouldn’t have been ten times better than Francis? That’s how conversations reach an impasse. Anyway, after five years, it seems like we should be able to do better. I came up with two weakly positive fruits of Benedict’s resignation. I’m still waiting to hear a third.

    Switching gears, David Collin’s pithy response had me thinking all night, and he really makes a good point, but I think I have a good reply: in fact I *am* responsible, in a small way, for what happens in the Church. I am the Head of the Domestic Church of the Family of PBNelson. That’s a very humble thing next to the Magisterium, but it’s also a daunting responsibility. In the context of this topic I have to prepare myself to answer my children’s questions. And I have to teach them proper reverence for the Papacy, not too much nor too misplaced but neither too arrogant nor too dismissive. It’s a fine line to walk, and my kids will sense if I’m being disingenuous.

    Unfortunately for me I joined this thread just as it was going on life support, so I doubt many people are even reading this. But maybe I’ll get lucky and someone will give me something to hang onto? Can anyone name some *positive* fruits of Benedict’s resignation?

  59. PTK_70 says:

    @pbnelson….You call it “jabber”, I call it “consideration-worthy”. You like your question, I like mine. In fact, I reject your question and therefore shan’t be of any assistance in answering it. I only hoped to help you perhaps see the renunciation from a different point of view.

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