The Pope Resigns

Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, resigned today. The National Review posted an article reporting his resignation and the questions that arise from that resignation. The article points out that the demands of the office of Pope are such that a man suffering from some of the ailments of old age may not be suitable to remain in the position. Another question that arises from Pope Benedict’s resignation is how much input a living Pope should have in the choice of his successor.

The writer of the article describes Pope Benedict as the Church’s “doctrinal watchdog.” He compares him to Pope John XXIII:

Both were very aware that secularization has been a mounting tide. Both tried to shape the Church for dealing with it, not by focusing on its evils and condemning them, but by promoting a more effective proclamation of the Gospel.

…One can see Pope John XXIII’s deep faith and his desire to engage with modernity in Humanae Salutis, the apostolic constitution by which he formally convoked Vatican II on Christmas Day 1961. These same concerns animated his interventions during the Council. In my judgment, the strategy evident in that document, which is so dependent on solid faith and hope, has been the strategy of the Popes since John, perhaps especially of John Paul II but not least of all Benedict.

It is a wise man who knows when it is time to step aside and let someone else lead.

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