Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Friday, April 29, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Mt Angel Towers 8.13

Home : News : Pope Francis/Vatican
In hindsight, pope's resignation seems almost predictable
Catholic News Service photo
Pilgrims have their cameras ready as Pope Benedict makes his way through the crowd in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican before a general audience in 2007. The 85-year-old pontiff said he no longer has the energy to exercise his ministry over the universal church and will resign at the end of the month.
Catholic News Service photo
Pilgrims have their cameras ready as Pope Benedict makes his way through the crowd in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican before a general audience in 2007. The 85-year-old pontiff said he no longer has the energy to exercise his ministry over the universal church and will resign at the end of the month.
Catholic News Service


VATICAN CITY — As much as he astonished the world when he announced his resignation Feb. 11, Pope Benedict's decision seems almost predictable in hindsight. Given his previous statements on the subject and his recent signs of aging, one might say that people should have seen it coming.

The real mystery now is not why Pope Benedict chose to step down, it is how this almost-unprecedented action will affect the papacy and the church.

In 2010, Pope Benedict told the German journalist Peter Seewald that "if a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign."

The signs of fatigue and difficulty walking that have struck most papal observers in recent months led him to conclude, as he told an assembly of cardinals two days before Ash Wednesday, that "strength of mind and body ... has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me."

Many people today associate unexpected resignations with scandal or crisis. In the immediate aftermath of Pope Benedict's announcement there was predictable speculation that he might be stepping down under pressure of some grave problem in the church, perhaps one yet to be revealed.

But if Pope Benedict declined to resign at the height of the controversy over clerical sex abuse in late winter and early spring of 2010, when some accused him of personally mishandling cases of pedophile priests in Germany and the U.S., it is hard to imagine what sort of crisis he might deem disturbing enough to resign over now.

As he told Seewald later that same year: "When the danger is great one must not run away. For that reason, now is certainly not the time to resign. Precisely at a time like this one must stand fast and endure the difficult situation. That is my view. One can resign at a peaceful moment or when one simply cannot go on. But one must not run away from danger and say that someone else should do it."

Pope Benedict may have judged the eve of Lent a particularly good moment to announce his resignation since, as the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, told reporters at a briefing shortly afterward, the timing practically ensures that the church will have a new pope by Easter.

It is probably no coincidence, and certainly fitting, that Pope Benedict waited to resign until after he had observed the 50th anniversary of the opening of Second Vatican Council, last October. If his papacy has had a single unifying project, it has been his effort to correct interpretations of Vatican II as a radical break with the past, in favor of readings that stress the continuity of the council's teachings with the church's millennial traditions.

Now, Pope Benedict has made his own dramatic innovation in church tradition. Of the several men, perhaps as many as 10, who have resigned the papacy in the history of the office, only one other did so freely: Pope Celestine V, in 1294.Given how much the papacy and the world have changed in the seven centuries since, there is practically no precedent for Pope Benedict's new role.

Father Lombardi told reporters that Pope Benedict will retire to a monastery inside the walls of Vatican City, where he will dedicate himself to study and prayer. The Vatican spokesman said he expected the former professor and prolific author to continue writing and communicating with the outside world. Asked whether the presence of a living former pope would present any danger of division within the church, Father Lombardi replied that it would be entirely out of character for Pope Benedict to say or do anything that might undermine his successor.

That assumption seems more than fair, but Pope Benedict's humility and discretion may be beside the point. In the age of the Internet, it is not hard to imagine critics excitedly claiming, on the authority of anonymous sources, that the former pope privately disapproves of this or that among his successor's decisions. Father Lombardi might find himself busy debunking such assertions, and even soliciting the occasional disclaimer from Pope Benedict himself.

Even if the presence of a living former pope poses no threat to the new pope's leadership or teaching authority, it will add complexity to the emotional and spiritual bonds that millions of Catholics enjoy with the successor of Peter. After all, the special devotion that many of the faithful feel for Pope Benedict today will surely not cease the moment a new pope is elected. That attachment would be a liability for Pope Benedict's successor, if the papacy were a secular political office. By the lights of faith, however, the prayers of a former pope and all those united with him ought to make the papacy that much stronger.

Related Stories:
• Citing health reasons, Pope Benedict announces he will resign



Advanced Search












Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved