|Talk about 'Rock Star' status. I just can't fathom Jesus ever allowing such a display for Himself.|
I've been reading Vatican Insider coverage of Pope Benedict's trip to Germany and found the following article. Of course this was yesterday, and today VI says No way, No how, but I wonder. The following was edited for length.
Media say Pope may resign in April
Andrea Tornielli - Vatican Insider - 9/25/2011There is one front page news story that will certainly not go unnoticed: that is, that the Pope is thinking about resigning during the Spring of 2012. Journalist Antonio Socci has confirmed the same in the Italian daily, Libero.
"For now,” Socci writes, “he is saying that this may be true (Joseph Ratzinger’s personal assumption), but I hope the story does not reach the news. But this rumor is circulating high up in the Vatican and therefore deserves close attention. The Pope has not rejected the possibility of his resignation when he turns 85 in April next year.”
Socci recalls that the assumption he will resign, without any hitches, was the same thing Ratzinger talked about in an interview in the book “Luce del mondo” (Light of the World), when, in response to a question by interviewer Peter Seewald, he said: “When a Pope arrives at a clear awareness that he no longer has the physical, mental, or psychological capacity to carry out the task that has been entrusted to him, then he has the right, and in some cases, even the duty to resign.” Furthermore, in another passage, Benedict XVI wondered if he would be able to “withstand it all, just from the physical point of view.”
Socci makes the following observation in today’s edition of Libero: “Today, Pope Benedict seems to be in really good form; just the same, there’s the issue of his age and just how much energy he has left.” But the writer/journalist also recalls another passage from the same book interview, which has to do with the attacks and controversies related to the pedophile priests' scandal: “When there is a great menace, one cannot simply run away from it. That is why, right now, it is definitely not the time to resign.”
“It is actually at moments like these that one needs to resist and overcome difficult situations. One can only resign at a time when things are calm, or simply, when nothing more can be done about it. But one cannot run away right when the threat is alive and say, ‘Let somebody else take care of it.”......
......Anyone who knows Ratzinger would confirm that the answer he gave to Seewald, is what he feels would be best, in the event of him becoming physically, mentally, or psychologically incapacitated. However, such a possibility seems, at the moment, somewhat remote. In fact, one is immediately struck by the contrast between the front page story in Libero and the images coming from Germany, where Benedict XVI is concluding an historic trip, during which he made 18 speeches in four days. Many of these put him under considerable pressure, especially as they were entirely written by him. The German press was astonished at the old Pontiff’s endurance, which he demonstrated by the fact that he was able to manage all the exhaustion from moving around; he did not sleep more than one night in a single bed. And he was successful in carrying out a packed schedule of engagements, meetings, vigils, and celebrations.
It is not hard to believe that an 85 year old Benedict might seriously want to retire to Bavaria and spend his last years quietly writing. Unfortunately it is more believable that the elder circle in the Vatican absolutely do not want this to happen, and like with John Paul II there will be no retirement of Benedict XVI. I actually find this abusive, but it's entirely consistent with the history of the Vatican of the last 150 years. The symbol of the papacy is far more important than the practical effectiveness of it's occupant. What would all those traditionalists do with the fact of two elected popes living at the same time?
I am personally stuck on such burning questions as to whether Benedict would get to vote or even be in the electoral college. His retirement and 'advice' from inside the conclave might be the most effective way to see to it that his 'reform of the reform' continues on after him. No wonder I'm stuck.
In Benedict's busy weekend, there were a couple of statements that I found more interesting than others Two came in his last homily. Again from Vatican Insider.
Benedict XVI issued an unusual and sincere warning, a provocative message that should be read very carefully: it is better to be a searching agnostic than a fake believer. During the mass that was celebrated this morning at the airport in Freiburg, in the last day of his German visit, Benedict XVI praised the "agnostics who cannot find peace due to their questions about God, people who suffer because of our sins and are desirous of a pure heart."
They are "closer to the Kingdom of God than "routine" believers who only see the apparatus of the Church without their hearts being touched by faith."....
And later on Benedict says this:
"The renewal of the Church," Ratzinger warned, "can only come about through the willingness to convert and through a renewal of faith.” The German Pope, aware that the ill-feeling towards the Vatican's failure to respond to requests for renewal, is most felt in his homeland, Germany and in Austria, warned that "the Church in Germany will overcome the great challenges of the present and future and will remain yeast in society, if the priests, consecrated persons and lay believers in Christ, loyal to their own specific vocation, work together in unity."
And then this in another homily:
"It is true that there is a growing aversion towards the Catholic Church, and that the number of people leaving the Church is constantly growing, but one of the reasons for this, is that people have “wrong ideas” about the Church and “focus on its negative aspects,” “when staying with Christ, means staying with the Church.” (Sigh....)
Benedict stressed conversion a lot in his many talks and homilies, just as he also stressed unification with Rome. As the above quotes demonstrate he even makes a connection between Catholics who are now agnostics and who suffer 'because of our sins and are desirous of a pure heart". But then to have him call for conversion to the very system that produced all those once Catholic now agnostic searchers is precisely what drives me crazy with his papacy. It's the classic behavior of an abusive parent. The real conversion needs to go the other way around. The Church in Germany and Austria is well past any notion of 'coming home' to an unreformed and unconverted parent. The 'hug/slap' thing only works so long before the recipient of such 'attention' says: "See ya buy, call me when you've really changed. We'll talk then."
If Benedict can't see this, than he really should retire because Papa Ratzinger is not the man who can put this German family back together.