Today’s announcement by Pope Benedict XVI even surprised Cardinal Dolan. I know it caught many of us off guard.
Just as his predecessor Blessed Pope John Paul II had done with teaching us all how to die with dignity. Pope Benedict XVI has given the Church a new expression of fully living the Paschal Mystery – that of dying and rising with Christ. It is an amazing example of putting everyone else in front of you in line, so that all humanity can be served. This Pope’s decision was “fearless.”
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised . . . after all, he is the Pope who called for more frequent World Youth Days in arguably the most secular settings in the world, taking the hope and future of the Church, the youth, to evangelize the hardest to evangelize.
This is the Pope who fearlessly stood on a platform throughout a heavy rainstorm in Madrid and proceeded once the rain stopped falling to bring out the Blessed Sacrament and lead young people in a half hour of silent Eucharistic Adoration.
Some will say that the Pope is merely running away from the “scandals” in the Church and is taking the easy road out. I don’t agree with that. Look at the very words he has used in his resignation:
“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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
Here are three key things that Pope Benedict XVI taught us in making this fearless decision;
- He did a repeated examination of conscience before God. In other words, he was probably face down in front of the Blessed Sacrament asking God what His will was.
- He was aware of his surroundings. Pope Benedict realized the critical time the world is in right now. He knows that the Church needs to maintain “deep relevance” and assessing his surroundings realized he would not be able to give all that was required of mind and body.
- He committed and decided. Rather than watch the Church suffer, he acted and decided to step aside and humbly show us what fearless leadership is all about.
At Life Teen, we have always supported Pope Benedict XVI and will be committed to praying for him and our Church daily during this time of transition.
Come Holy Spirit!
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.