This is one of the best reflections we here at Family Life International have seen on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI of his Petrine ministry. It is from President Fahey, Thomas More College, and is well worth the read.
The Catholic world is largely shocked by the publication of Pope Benedict XVI’s letter of resignation this morning. The secular world assumes the worst—no, it desires the worst, and by insulation worms doubts into the minds of even the faithful.
The secular world will tear through the brief letter and fixate upon the line about a “world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith.” It will weave from these deconstructed words an existential tale of despair, scandal, and an authority which realizes it is no longer in touch with reality.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Benedict’s resignation is utterly consistent with his character. It is traditional—he brings from our history and our law a fact and feature of the Papal Office: one can and—under certain circumstance—should put aside that office.
His resignation demonstrates once again the firm mark of a father and a teacher. A father knows that his role is to provide example, instruction, and discipline, and ultimately put himself aside for the good of his own. The Petrine ministry is not exercised for a man, or for bishops and priests, or even for Catholics alone. It is a ministry exercised for all those seeking God and for all those towards whom God’s mercy is extended. It is a demanding office.
As with every text published by Benedict, this letter of resignation has no imbalance, flab, impression, or vagueness. Not a word goes astray. It is shot through with paternal love and professorial clarity.
An honest reading of this document can only lead to profound gratitude and sympathy for a suffering father who must understand each act and decision he makes as having “great importance for the life the Church.” Read more…