February 11, 2013

"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."

60 comments:

The Farmer said...

Shame. He's been a great pope.

Pogo said...

I had hoped he would last longer. I know nothing of Rome's politics, but I hope he has some influence on his successor.

Catholics must avoid becoming Episcopalians, standing for nothing at all.

Scott M said...

"Brace yourselves," Ned Stark would say, "because puffs of smoke from the Vatican are coming."

Scott M said...

An agnostic friend asked me how the Bible handles a pope resigning/retiring. I reminded him that the Pope is indeed Catholic and, as such, the Bible isn't necessarily involved. (lol)

LarsPorsena said...

It would be interesting if a Latin American or African became pope.
Let the handicapping begin.

Patrick said...

Catholics must avoid becoming Episcopalians, standing for nothing at all.

Episcopalians changed a lot so that they would not lose popularity and membership. Hasn't worked, as I understand it.

I recall a friend telling me about his church's vote on some moral issues. That just seemed so odd, to equate morality with popularity.

MadisonMan said...

I'm surprised. I'm sure he has a compelling reason.

Does the Pope draw a pension? :)

Patrick said...

Does the Pope draw a pension? :)

For all eternity.

m stone said...

Episcopalians changed a lot so that they would not lose popularity and membership. Hasn't worked, as I understand it.

Don't give up too soon on the Episcopal Church. The gay-ordaining Episcopal church has split, with the offshoot Anglican Church of North America now retaining the conservative and traditional positions. Many Anglican churches, especially in Africa and also in US are strongly charismatic.

Jason said...

Watching the CNN morning crew try to cover the legacy of Pope Ratzinger = LULZ.

Basta! said...

The article says Pope Benedict is going to retire to a small monastery on the grounds of the Vatican --- so he's keeping his retirement humble.

I just hope the next one isn't Cardinal Bernie Law.

Mr. D said...

It would be interesting if a Latin American or African became pope.
Let the handicapping begin.


I expect it. That's where the energy of the Church is now. The pews are empty in Europe. One of the jobs of the next pope is to undertake missionary efforts back to Europe.

William said...

Several Supreme Court Justices could learn from th Pope's example.....Maybe he's just giving it up for Lent.

Mitchell the Bat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KLDAVIS said...

m stone said...
Don't give up too soon on the Episcopal Church.


Everyone knows the one, true faith is the Western Branch of American Reformed Presba-Lutheranism.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The Pope is an intelligent, educated and thoughtful man so, when he says "my conscience before God," I assume he's saying only that he's taken the matter seriously and thought it through.

Freder Frederson said...

That just seemed so odd, to equate morality with popularity.

Well then you just don't understand reform theology (although technically the Episcopal Church is not part of the reform tradition).

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I wish I could root for Levada (who succeeded Ratzinger in the job he had before the Papacy), but at 77 or 78 he's unlikely either to want the job or to get it. As Archbishop of San Francisco he handled some very difficult situations extremely well.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The article says Pope Benedict is going to retire to a small monastery on the grounds of the Vatican --- so he's keeping his retirement humble.

Plus they said that he can borrow the pope-mobile whenever he wants, as long as he returns it with a full tank of gas.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Maybe he's just giving it up for Lent.

Lent begins two days from now; he's resigning on 2/28. So, no. Cute idea, though.

LarsPorsena said...

Freder Frederson said...

That just seemed so odd, to equate morality with popularity.

Well then you just don't understand reform theology (although technically the Episcopal Church is not part of the reform tradition).

2/11/13, 9:11 AM
________________________________

Reform Theology? Is that the one where you cut the cloth of your conscience to fit the fashion of the times?

G Joubert said...

An Alzheimer's diagnosis, or some other such debilitating malady. That'd be my guess.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Pogo,

I had hoped he would last longer. I know nothing of Rome's politics, but I hope he has some influence on his successor.

I think that Benedict XVI and John Paul II between them appointed the entire current College of Cardinals, so the general direction of the Church is unlikely to change much. But as to who gets the nod ... anyone's guess, really. I gather the Italians are rather miffed at having lost their centuries-long lock on the Papacy with JPII, and want it back; others think it's time for a Pope hailing from someplace outside Europe altogether.

Scott M said...

Does the Pope draw a pension?

Does a bear shit in the woods?

Paddy O said...

Huge news. First time in six centuries, and this time without some underlying compelling reason.

He just let go of power. To make a fitting, albeit strangely so, analogy it's very much like the emperor Diocletian.

SJ said...

@Lars,

There has been more than one African Pope already.

If I can trust my search engines, the candidates are:
Pope Victor I (189-199)
Pope Miltiades (311-314)
Pope Gelasius I (492-496)

Problem is, the Romans didn't rally care to record the level of melanin in their skin, so we don't know their skin color. Most images of them are pale-skinned.

But they were Popes. From the Northern part of Africa.

Seeing Red said...

Not a Catholic, but he's a class act. I always thought he was.

Paddy O said...

My money is on a non-European successor, probably African.

Ratzinger was such a dominating figure in both ecclesial role and theological contributions for the last many decades he was the obvious choice. There's not really someone with the same stature nowadays. And that, I think, opens the door for other opportunities and expressions of Roman Catholic global identity.

tiger said...

Yeah pretty amazing he's retiring as opposed to dying office - which as been the standard for the past 600 years.

Next Pope will be older too.
The Church is a little freaked-out by JP II; he was youngish when elected and had power for so long that he really shaped the course of the Church - 'they' don't want that to happen again.

Read this in an analysis after JP II died and it sounds 'right' to me.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Maybe the Pope finally got around to seeing The Godfather Part III.

Scott M said...

But they were Popes. From the Northern part of Africa.

It is highly impolitic of you to remind people that not everyone from Africa, which is an enormous place, is black. Or even dark brown. Or dusky in any way. Some are whiter than Liv Tyler.

The Farmer said...

Paddy O said...
My money is on a non-European successor, probably African.


I thought that last time but they went with the safe, obvious choice. I think they'll do the same again. I think Scola will be our next Pope.

edutcher said...

What makes this relevant to me is this line from Newsmax:

"Benedict, the 265th pope, is the sixth German to serve as pope and the first since the 11th century. He has led church after the third-longest papacy in church history and during a time in which the church is declining in his native Europe but expanding in Africa and Latin America."

for those wondering why some are speculating about the possibility of a Latin American or African Pope.

Considering how well Islam was supposed to be doing in the Dark Continent, we may be seeing an historical cycle coming to an end.

Scott M said...

Does the Pope draw a pension?

Does a bear shit in the woods?


No, but some people have it for brains. He will be cared for like any other retired priest or nun.

PS Now all the idiots, having been so right about the end of the world, will start peppering us with material about how the next Pope will be the last.

You'd make better money betting we've seen the last Democrat in the White House.

PPS Thank you, Madame.

dc said...

My tip is Cardinal Schoenborn from Vienna.

Smilin' Jack said...

ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.........

Michael Haz said...

Please let his successor be Cardinal Timothy Dolan. B16 promoted him from Archbishop to Cardinal in a very short time for good reason.

Patrick said...

Well then you just don't understand reform theology (although technically the Episcopal Church is not part of the reform tradition).

That would be correct. Also, my post was unclear, the friend to whom I referred was not Episcopalian.

Patrick said...

Does the Pope draw a pension?

Does a bear shit in the woods?


Is the Pope Catholic?

Rob said...

We should have seen it coming. Once the Pope went on Twitter, it was predictable he'd become so distracted he couldn't do his day job.

Bender said...

The Successor of Peter will not be an American.

Thank God.

Fr Martin Fox said...

DC:

Schoenborn? I doubt it. He's embarrassed himself a couple of times in recent years. Once his star soared high, but it has fallen.

I haven't a clue how to handicap these things; but it seems to me, if you want to try to guess the next pope, you want to think about what the cardinals will be thinking the Church needs.

Some, I think, will want a better administrator. Both John Paul and Benedict, for different reasons, weren't that great at this. Most cardinals, being bishops, have administrative responsibilities, and they may want someone better in Rome.

The Italians, who are still a significant share of the cardinals, may want the big chair back. The pope is, after all, the bishop of Rome.

I wonder if there will be a desire for a younger pope--so they don't have to do this again in a few years?

I think there will be considerable sentiment for someone to continue emphasizing Catholic identity and confronting the culture.

The perennial hope of liberals and non-Catholic observers, that the next pope will "update" things, will be dashed yet again.

An American pope is probably not going to happen.

Crunchy Frog said...

An American pope is probably not going to happen.

The American cardinals have not exactly covered themselves in glory over the last 10 years or so.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Crunchy:

Well, a mixed bag (regarding American cardinals).

Egan, Dolan's predecessor in New York, had a rough time; Dolan has handled himself pretty well. Rigali messed up pretty badly in Philadelphia, Mahony in LA was terrible. O'Malley came into a terrible situation in Boston (following Law) and I think has earned good marks.

George followed Bernardin in Chicago and has done reasonably well. Bernardin, while a media darling, was in the same mold as Mahony and other prelates who presided over the sex-abuse disaster.

DiNardi (sp?) in Houston? I don't have any opinion on him.

Wuerl of D.C. is doesn't stand out, but he's been steady. Don't forget Levada, who was in the Holy Office (it's not called that anymore) for many years; he got high marks for that term.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I'm keeping my eye on Scola, Archbishop of Milan.

Italian, 71, has held both important sees in Italy: Venice and Milan. He was hand-picked by Benedict for Milan, and is considered close to him.

He is a specialist in bio-medical issues and is pretty bright. He's also known to be outgoing and warm. He's a known quantity; and a lot of the Cardinals would know him or know of him.

If the choice of Ratzinger in 2005 was rightly interpreted as trying to perpetuate John Paul II's legacy, then Scola would be the right choice to perpetuate Benedict's.

If he's in good health, he might reign for 15 years or so, a good length of time. I doubt many cardinals would want to elect a 30-year pope, but I think only a few would want a short-termer.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Oh, and Scola studied in the U.S. and is fluent in English. That may not influence the decision, but I don't see that it hurts. It might help, especially if the conclave wants a pope who "presents well" to the world.

Baron Zemo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baron Zemo said...

I hope and pray that we get an African or Asian pope. One who burns with the zeal of the faith that so many of the Europeans and Americans have lost.

Every summer we have a priest from Ghana who is an inspiring simple man of God. He or someone like him would make a wonderful pope.

McGehee said...

In the 1400s there wasn't the celebrity culture there is now. The way an abdicated Pope lived back then is almost certainly not going to work now unless he fades into almost non-personhood from the public's point of view.

Otherwise, any time he's seen in public it will be remarked upon, and his successor's court will be quizzed about his status. So ... what does one call an ex-Pope? "His Former Holiness?"

el polacko said...

word is that he's packing his red prada shoes and that he and his handsome, young, personal manservant are retiring to palm springs.

The Godfather said...

I'm not a Roman Catholic, so I have no dog in the "next Pope" fight.

I do want to defend my church, the Episcopal Church, which some commenters have referred to critically. Our numbers have shrunk, but not primarily because of the disagreements over the Prayer Book, the ordination of women, first as priests, then as bishops, the ordination of gays, first as priests and then as bishops, and the blessings of gay unions -- we've generally picked up about as many new members over those issues as we've lost. But we have suffered a general generational decline, while the more evangelical and "fundamentalist" churches have grown. I'm sorry about that, and I respect those who find such churches nourishing, but for myself I wouldn't see us change the nature of our church to appeal to people who are looking for something different.

I do think it's interesting that the congregations that have broken off from the Episcopal Church, although often referred to as "conservative", have done so solely because they object to our welcome of gays. I don't agree with them; I know too many good Christians who are also gay. But even if I were anti-gay, I would think that a weak argument for schism.

dc said...

Fr Martin Fox

I think you are right. I haven't been following his activities of late,but he seems to have done an good job of taking himself out of contention.

mariner said...

Pogo,
Catholics must avoid becoming Episcopalians, standing for nothing at all.

But they do stand for some things: ordination of women, ordination of homosexuals, and gay marriage.

Episcopals only problem is all those bigoted Christians out there who don't agree with their [very wide] stance.

mariner said...

Scott M,
It is highly impolitic of you to remind people that not everyone from Africa, which is an enormous place, is black. Or even dark brown. Or dusky in any way. Some are whiter than Liv Tyler.

But they're not AUTHENTICALLY African.

kentuckyliz said...

I've been hoping for Africa, Asia, or South America.

I like Arinze! Doubt he's a serious papabile, though.

kentuckyliz said...

I see B16 as becoming more feeble and sunken-looking in the face. I think he is in physical decline and would not be surprised if things take a turn quite soon.

I love the man. His encyclical and JesNaz and other books have been great.

Darrell said...

el polacko--

You will soon become overwhelmed with the desire to find out what would happen if you stuck your tongue in a light socket. Just remember to put a penny behind the fuse first. Or substitute a 100 Amp breaker in that circuit.

gerry said...

But even if I were anti-gay

Is opposing immoral behavior anti-gay? Are you anti-murderer?

Just wondering...

Simon said...

LarsPorsena said...
"It would be interesting if a Latin American or African became pope. Let the handicapping begin."

Francis Card. Arinze would be wonderful, but it's very unlikely. The smart money has to be on Cardinals Ouellet, Scola, and Sandrini. (Sandrini is a latin american, despite his Italian name.)

Patrick said...
"Episcopalians changed a lot so that they would not lose popularity and membership. Hasn't worked, as I understand it."

Right, because people know when they're being conned, and if you're a faith that professes to be about eternal truths and yet you bend your doctrine to fit the exigencies of the era (rather than explaining how the eternal doctrine applies to the current era), people start to feel that it's a con.

m stone said...
"Don't give up too soon on the Episcopal Church … Many Anglican churches, especially in Africa and also in US are strongly charismatic."

But none of them, save the ordinariates erected by Benedict, are in full sacramental communion and juridical union with the See of Peter. And I'm far from sure that being 'charismatic' is a boon.

Simon said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...
"I wish I could root for Levada (who succeeded Ratzinger in the job he had before the Papacy), but at 77 or 78 he's unlikely either to want the job or to get it. As Archbishop of San Francisco he handled some very difficult situations extremely well."

One name that has been floated as papabile is Christoph Card. Schoenborn, and that would be incredibly silly for the obverse of what you just said: As Archbishop of Vienna, he has faced schism and utterly failed to handle it. How could he handle on a large scale what he was incompetent to handle on a small scale?

" think that Benedict XVI and John Paul II between them appointed the entire current College of Cardinals, so the general direction of the Church is unlikely to change much."

William Card. Baum and Paulo Card. Arns are the last two cardinals appointed by Paul VI, and both have aged out of voting in the conclave.

Michael Haz said...
"Please let his successor be Cardinal Timothy Dolan. B16 promoted him from Archbishop to Cardinal in a very short time for good reason."

I do not have money on Card. Dolan. I would not, however, bet money against it being Card. Dolan. My money is on Ouellet; my bet, more generally, is Ouellet, Scola, or Sandrini. Dolan would be good. Arinze would be fab.

The Godfather said...
"I do want to defend my church, the Episcopal Church, which some commenters have referred to critically. Our numbers have shrunk, but not primarily because of ..."

May I be frank about why I think it's shrunk? I do have episcopalian friends, some of them far better Christians than I. I don't want to piss them off. But nevertheless, I have to be frank about this. In all charity, I have to be candid about what I see happening in the Anglican world. I think that when one presents faith as a lifestyle choice rather than the discovery of a greater truth and the ordering of one's life around it, people looking for a lifestyle find other lifestyles that are easier and more enjoyable, and people who are looking for faith keep looking. And perhaps I'm wrong, GF, perhaps I'm very wrong, but right or not, that is my perception of where the episcopal church is today, and where it is threatening to drag the Anglican communion. When I returned to faith, so much in me wanted to return to the Anglican Church, GF, but it just couldn't be done. It just doesn't make sense. It's not the truth and in America, it barely pretends to be.

Simon said...

The Godfather said...
"But even if I were anti-gay, I would think that a weak argument for schism."

How about wanting a divorce? Is that a stronger argument for schism?