A Sigh of Resignation

I feel it is beholden upon those of us who understood the liturgical renewal of the Pope Emeritus’ wonderful and historic pontificate to take him at his word regarding his final and perhaps greatest pontifical act, his resignation, one year ago this evening.

I suppose it’s one of those events that is sort of tailor made for wild conspiracy theories, but they are so out of place here. Maybe it’s easiest for Americans to understand, because of the remarkable example of our first president, George Washington, who resigned sacrificially not once but twice: resigning his military commission after winning the Revolutionary War, and resigning the presidency after two terms. In each of these instances he showed that the country is larger than one man.

In Pope Emeritus Benedict’s case, he showed that the Church belongs to Christ.

Thanks again, dear Holy Father, for all you gave to us, particularly the Reform of the Reform. God bless you as you pray for all of us!

7 Replies to “A Sigh of Resignation”

  1. Again, thanks for your voice of reason and calm, Kathy, amid the din.
    It is so disconcerting when the greatest and personally beloved Holy Father of my lifetime is so tarnished by talking heads and clever, but sober-voiced punditry such as found on the PBS Frontline report last week diminishing the man and the office with carefully chosen descriptors such as "a man who never was a pastor," or "he was incapable and infirm to reign in the curia," or simply "he couldn't handle it anymore."
    All these (including those IN the Church) who revel as they think they've taken him down and continue to stomp upon he and his legacy, don't even know the man, and he's never been down or out. A genuine saint and hero, IMO.

  2. Charles, I agree with you about the continuing support of anti-Catholicism by PBS. I love most things about PBS, but this has been a terrible path they have chosen in regards to the Church. It is personally painful to see or hear or read coverage that is rife with inaccuracies and, to be blunt, outright lies in support of bias attacks on our Church.

  3. Kathleen, you do indeed bring up an interesting comparison in the example of Washington. You are correct that one of the greatest things he did for the country was to step down after two terms. The US has had a remarkable history of peaceful transitions of government and the example and core of that can be traced back to Washington. He understood the importance of not building a monarchy here especially after the opposition to abuses by King George III in England.

    Pope Benedict saw that he was unable to keep up with the difficulties in the Church. He had already contributed scholarship and understandings that will survive well beyond all of us. But what has made a particular difference is the superb example and respect shown by Pope Frances towards him. Had it been otherwise, had Benedict been ignored or marginalized, future popes may reconsider any decision to step down even in the face of compelling reasons to do so. Pope Frances has set a standard for respect and caring that, we all hope, will carry forward not just among popes, but among all of us.

  4. He has done the most difficult work in our time, and he is such a humble person. Without rooting our faith on Divinity, our work can be remained as the same as those of humanitarians and social workers.

  5. Charles:

    I heartily agree with you about Pope Benedict. I love him so much – he has been a true father to me as a Catholic – he has taught me so much…not only in his lucid and profound writing…but in his worldly-wise yet gentle demeanor. What a priest…what a Bishop…what a Pope!

    I must confess…it was after hearing a priest in NJ…at the parish where I was married…mock and demean Pope Benedict on the very weekend of his abdication…that I for the first time in my life…and I hope the last…I actually cursed my own Church (but Benedict did not…he loved her…though she scorned him).

    To steal the words of Anthony Esolen, may God conform me to his beauty…in the same way he conformed Benedict.

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