pope benedict resigns – day two

ominous photos of lightening strikes over St. Peter's yesterday are going viral
ominous photos of lightening hitting St. Peter’s yesterday are all over the internet today

It has been a heady couple of days for Catholics. The media buzz over the papal resignation has spread far beyond the walls of the Vatican. It is reminiscent of the death watch in 2005, when the world held its breath for the bells to toll the passing of Pope John Paul II. Then, news teams from around the globe descended on St. Peter’s. His death was followed by intense coverage of the papal funeral and subsequent conclave. I was hooked then. And, I’m hooked now.

Except this time, there has been no death.

I have often wondered what it would be like to be the Queen of England or the Pope. You know that your funeral will be a world-stopping affair, but you wouldn’t be around to hear the tributes and memorials. And, you wouldn’t be around to see the coronation of your successor. With his surprise abdication, Pope Benedict is living through an experience that no other Pope has. He may not be the first to resign, but he is the first to do it in the age of modern communications.

I wonder. Is he following the news coverage? Is he curious to know the world’s reaction to his decision? Is he really going to be able to just close the doors on the papal apartments and walk away on February 28th? Will he be following the news of the conclave on T.V. with the rest of the world?

The news trickling from the Vatican press office tells us that plans are already under way for the retired Pope to go to the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo before he moves into a newly refurbished monastery in the middle of the Vatican gardens. And, no, he will have no role in the conclave (other than hand-picking many of the electors).

There is a surreal effect to this story. It sounds more like the opening chapter of a suspense plot in a Vatican-based novel. One wonders if there is a tale below the surface. Will there be other surprises in the coming days?

4 thoughts on “pope benedict resigns – day two

  1. A new Pope.
    Fear and trembling, and hope…
    A Pope who will know how to lead and inspire us lovingly and happily in our Jerry Seinfeld world?
    Or a Pope who wants to drag us back into a world where Father Knows Best?
    Holy Spirit, whither thou blowest?
    In the end, all will be well… we believe that… In God’s time, of course!

  2. Shocked that is how I felt yesterday morning,it cannot be,how could he ? I felt hurt-this was the first Pope who had made such an impact on me I had so wanted Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to be Pope .There is a huge photo of him at home the first thing you see as you enter I have read every article written about him Just started on his book Jesus of Nazareth,his first book written as Benedict XVI-his personal search for the Face of the Lord.But though I feel a sense of loss I so respect his strength and humility to resign
    openly declaring his incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to him in today’s world who would do this ? we tend to cling and fight for seats of power and importance whether we deliver or not.
    My prayers for Joseph Ratzinger and hope that I love and respect the Shepherd taking his place as much as I did him

    1. Hi Veronica. As the news sinks in, and more voices are added to the commentaries, it seems that the most common response is admiration for the decision made by Pope Benedict….and I agree. It takes courage, strength and humility to voluntarily let go of power and authority.

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