Wherein I rant out of ignorance, impetuosity and selfishness:
Where does rupture come into the ‘Hermeneutic of Continuity’? Is it possible to take anything that Pope Benedict has said about the hermeneutic of continuity seriously when he deems it possible to walk away from the papacy?
It is not a ‘job’ that one can retire from. It would be like Peter turning to his fellow apostles and telling them, “right, chaps, I’ve decided to go back to plain old Simon. I’ll remain in Rome, do a bit of fishing from now and then, but, as for being the rock upon whom Christ founded His Church, I’m past it.” Being Pope is being Peter!
What was Jesus’ reaction when, at Caesarea Philippi, having recognised Christ for who He really was, Peter tried to tell Jesus that ‘it was not for Him’ to die? “Get behind me, Satan!” was Jesus’ response. Given that Jesus said that, ‘if any man would come after me he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me’ and that Peter is to lead the rest of us in dying to self to live for Christ it is incomprehensible for Pope Benedict to give up.
It doesn’t follow that the man is giving up dying to self to live for Christ on a personal level, but it says loud and clear to the Church (as well as to the world that can’t help its fascination of the Church despite its unbridled hatred and its ignorance) that the Papacy is a job one can retire from, the Church is just a club, the Pope is just a CEO…
My first reaction to the news was one of horror. I thought of the conspiracy theories, the apocalyptic stuff that exists out there. We are now getting mud slung at the Church from without and from within (with the Cardinal O’Brien thing – call me cynical, but we have a man who has stood up courageously to defend the Church’s teaching on marriage (against state redefinition) and days before the Conclave some allegations are made – pull the other one!). I don’t really believe the Malachy prophecies, but the whole thing is a worry, and so unnecessary.
This whole rant is verging on disobedience (but I feel that renouncing the Papacy is no different), but my current thoughts on the matter I should ask forgiveness for: namely, that it would be best for all concerned if Pope Benedict XVI died between now and Thursday evening…
|But it does feel like you are abandoning us, Holy Father!|
To put it another way (and to reiterate my starting point): Popes should die; that's what happens to them. How can it be that we should have a Holy Father as well as a Holy Grandfather? And on a personal note, JPII’s death and funeral affected me as a backslidden Protestant so much that I became a Catholic (it certainly put me on the way, anyway). There is nothing edifying, or nothing that evokes the sacrificial nature of the position of Pope first and living as a Christian second, about standing aside.
I love the Pope. He has made the Church a little bit more like what I expected the ‘One, True Church’ to look like when, having recognised the Church as such whilst still outside it, I ventured within its doors and (in some cases) found a Protestant service with the Hail Mary stuck on (until +Conry banned it!). Not only that, but I saw him in Hyde Park where I prayed with him. My friends went to Rome on honeymoon and received a blessing from him at a Papal audience in front of all those gathered in St. Peter’s Square. I have a rosary blessed by him that they brought back, that I pray with daily. Not only that but I like the fact that non-Catholics think and say of him, ‘he hasn’t done much’. Well, he might not have done much if you’re expecting him to pop up all over the world in his popemobile every few weeks or declare contraception and abortion ok and start ordaining women, etc. Unfortunately, however, there remain things that he hasn’t done, that, I suppose I would have hoped he would have got round to later if he had stayed longer (and, perhaps, if his health were not fading). I’m talking about doing the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary rather than just admitting that it hasn’t been done. And other such things.
Yes, I love the Pope, but, sincerely, it seems to me that it would be best if he died soon.