What an incredible week this has been. The Chair of St. Peter is officially empty. In an emotional day, the world watched as His Holiness Benedict XVI, pope-emeritus, was flown over the city of Rome to his temporary retirement home at Castel Gandolfo. So as a rare papal retirement begins for Benedict, a Church waits as the next stage of our history unfolds. Needless to say there was a lot to take in this week, and here a few items I found interesting.
As mentioned, the man formerly known as Pope Benedict XVI is now to be called His Holiness Benedict XVI, pope-emeritus. Don Clemmer explores this and other details in a guest post for the Washington Post.
Then there’s the issue that the church simply hasn’t experienced this in modern times. It raises questions: Will the retiring pope participate in the conclave to elect his successor? (He will not.) What will his title be? (His Holiness Benedict XVI, pope-emeritus) Where will he live? (in a cloister within in the Vatican, leading a life dedicated to prayer) Will his Fisherman’s Ring, a symbol of his authority, be destroyed, as is the case with deceased popes? (yes) These are complicated questions of theology and canon law. It requires an authoritative voice, a great mind, someone whose reputation is impeccable.
In his last meeting with the College of Cardinals, Benedict promised his prayers and pledged obedience to his successor.
“Before I personally greet you I desire to tell you that I will continue to remain close to you with prayer, especially in these next days, that you may be fully docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new Pope.
“That the Lord will show you what he wants from you,” Benedict XVI told the 144 cardinals gathered in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace at 11:00 a.m. to bid him farewell.
“Among you, between the College of Cardinals, there is also the future Pope, to whom I already pledge my unconditional respect and obedience,” he declared.
As he spoke to the public in his last Angelus, His Holiness insisted that he will be with the Church, now, as much as he ever has been.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” the Pope said as he dwelt on the Sunday Gospel on the Transfiguration, “the Word of God feels particularly directed at me, at this point in my life. The Lord called me to ‘climb the mountain,’ to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation.”
“But this does not mean abandoning the Church,” he qualified, “indeed, if God asks me this it is just so that I can continue to serve with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done so far, but in a way more suited to my age and for me.”
As the main stream media so desperately tries to attach scandal to this historic resignation, Msgr. Charles Pope interjects some much needed sanity on the Archdiocese of Washington blog.
I prefer simply to take Pope Benedict at his word. He indicates that, given the effects of age, he thinks is best step back for the sake of the Church. I know of no other walk of life where we have, or expect 85-year-old man to hold a position that would tax a man half his age.
Video: Edward Weisenburger, Bishop of Salina (KS) and my former pastor, reflects on Benedict XVI, St. Peter, and the future of the Church.
Peter, an uneducated and flawed man who betrayed and ran from the Lord when he was in trouble, would make tremendous statements of belief once he came to faith, Bishop Weisenburger said. “Peter simply did as he was asked by the Lord and poured out his life with gracious generosity for Christ in his Church,” the bishop said. “With that understanding of St. Peter, the first bishop of Rome, in mind, can we not see echoes of St. Peter in his good and loving successor, Benedict?” he asked.
Quote of the Week – Brandon Vogt on Facebook:
Underneath the Pope’s helicopter lies the crumbling Coliseum and Forum, monuments to the greatest empire the world has ever known. But where is the successor to Caesar? Where is the Roman Empire? They’ve long passed away.
Yet look above. Where is the successor to Peter? Where is the vicar of Christ of earth? There he is.
“And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.” – Matthew 28:20
If you have a guess as to who will succeed Benedict XVI, the folks at eCatholic, Flocknote, and CatholicStudentMinistry.com have created the Fantasy Conclave League to have a little fun amongst those outside the Conclave.
With the announced resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the whole world is talking about who will be the next pope. Every Catholic we talk to has their own prediction of who that man will be. The Fanstasy Conclave League is your chance to share your prediction and learn more about this whole papal election and conclave process. Plus you could win some cool prizes if you guess correctly!
And just for the record: