Benedict Resignation

I never thought I’d see the day when the Pope would resign. Then again, I’m sure lots of other people never expected to see something like it either, considering the last time it was done was nearly 600 years ago when there was a plethora of Popes, necessitating one of them to be big enough to step down to strengthen the church.

At this news, I was hearing from people who were positively going through a melt-down with shock and fear: “Oh my Gawd! What’s going to happen now?”

And the more I thought about it, the more I was realizing that this probably isn’t a bad thing. His Holiness has done many good things during his time in office, but he was elected to it at an old age, and knew that he wasn’t suited for such work for too long. Think about it this way: over the past weeks the news was all about Chris Christie and his weight. Some have gone as far as to say he should not be elected president because he’s too overweight, and from that and the stress of the position, he wouldn’t be effective. We’re talking about someone’s effectiveness in an elected office, and health and weight and age all play into that.

Personally, I had my own misgivings about Dick Cheney serving as Vice President with his heart condition constantly being a problem. But then after he shot a contributor in the face and I was like, “Hey, I guess if he can shoot a contributor in the face, he must be okay to be Vice President.

And in reality, it’s really no different with the Pope. The office of the Papacy is an office to which one is elected. It’s not a birthright, nor is it supposed to be like a marriage “till death do us part.” He’s actually doing the right thing by making a conscious decision to step down and allow someone else to take over while he still has his complete faculties.

So now, just a few days away from the pontifical abdication, rumors run amok about who will be the next Pope. Just the other day, I saw a report that there are even two Americans whose names have come up as possibilities – Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York. Of course, as is typical, they’ll poo-poo it all the way to Rome.

Although there is rumor about the possibility of an American (or any non-European) becoming the next Pope, I’m sure the chance is still very slight. According to an article on The Associated Press:

The 11 U.S. cardinals expected to vote in the conclave will include Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former Los Angeles archbishop who was recently stripped of public duties by his successor over his record on handling abuse cases. Also attending will be Cardinal Justin Rigali, who stepped down as Philadelphia archbishop after a landmark indictment of priests revealed he had kept several clergy on assignment despite claims they molested children.

Sounds not much unlike our own Congress, if you ask me.

But just like everyone else, I’ll be glued to the news with anticipation awaiting the signal of the white smoke from the Sistine Chapel, and the announcement, “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum! Habemus Papam! (I announce to you a great joy! We have a pope!)” Personally, I’m hoping it’s someone with more of a leaning to traditional liturgy; but I won’t be holding my breath.

Then again, if you subscribe to the Prophecy of the Popes, Benedict’s successor (to be named Peter the Roman) will be the last Pope before the end of the world.

Is it Groundhog Day again?