Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Renounces Papacy, Journalists Embrace Idiocy

Scandal is as scandal does.

In the end, all one’s time and all one’s strength is spent.

(ROME – Vatican City) Meticulously following Canon 322 §2, the Pope renounced the See of Peter on February 10th, 2013, with the following words (spoken in Latin):

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

The above referenced code says: If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.

You will note that his actual statement fully meets the requirements of Can. 332 §2. This is to be expected from someone with a mind like his. And, when I say “this” is to be expected, I mean both the manner of the renunciation and the fact of it.

Anyone that has read any of Cardinal Ratzinger’s or Pope Benedict XVI’s works, is familiar with his lucid prose and depth and breadth of thought. Our Pope is an uncommonly gifted theologian with a professor’s love of study and a pastor’s concern that God be known and understood insofar as man is capable of understanding. Having said this, I noted with interest a comment in his foreword to Jesus of Nazareth:

As I do not know how much more time and strength I am still to be given, I have decided to publish the first ten chapters…

He wrote this in 2006, when he had been Pope for less than two years. Elsewhere he has stated that he can feel his “powers fading”. If we can say that one mark of genius is the ability to see what is there, to penetrate to the core of the issue, and to glean the immutable truth within, then what can we say about someone of such genius with regard to self-knowledge and understanding? I think it fair to suppose that such a mind may be more keenly aware of its own decline than most.

Consider this as well – usually the Church does not know when the See will be vacated. We may have a pretty good idea, but, we certainly in recent history have not known the exact day and hour. Pope Benedict has set up the Church for as smooth a transition of pastoral care as is humanly possible. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit.

Virtually all the sound and fury from the vultures swarming this news story signify nothing. People with agendas, people with no knowledge but with mere opinion, and those who simply live to shock or outrage are saying all manner of silly things. There is a saying, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” In the case of journalists, so-called, all they have is gossip, so everything looks like scandal. There is no scandal here, not in the sense of discredit nor in the sense of leading someone into sin. There is simply a man who believes he can best serve Jesus by devoting what time and strength remains to him to prayer.

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