Yesterday, I briefly wrote a little about Pope Benedict’s announcement of his resignation. I thought it more important I say little, jump to few conclusions, and not publish all my sentiments online, when they could quickly change. I followed this up with a few words of encouragement.
Many people, I am sure, are reasonably shocked and saddened. It, perhaps came from nowhere. As a Ratzinger fan I saw something coming, and I couldn’t exactly be sure. So I thought in a little analysis of what was leading up to this, it might help to go over some indicators. This might help give some people a why. I hope to follow up with more analysis of Pope Benedict’s Legacy.
Two years ago, at WYD in Madrid, I already noticed that BXVI was markedly frail. He was unremarkably elderly, and nothing alarming could be noticed of this. He did not explicitly indicate that he would be at the next WYD, but did end with something more open ended. Although I believed he would live until WYD13, I figured he might find health issues would impede him.
Pope Benedict made comments in Light of the World, an interview with Peter Seewald, that a Pope should resign if he sees himself unfit for the job for health reasons.
Last year, Pope Benedict published the final piece of his Jesus of Nazareth work. To him, a Biblical Christology would conclude, or crown all of his theological works in his life. Having fully accomplished this, I knew that the Pope would feel ready for whatever came next.
Pope Benedict recently established a Twitter Account. This goes against every intuition of Joseph Ratzinger. By this he was not saying that he would take on social media, but believes that his successor ought to be aware of its impact, and ready to take it on. He was attempting to set the stage, as well as an expectation.
Finally, Pope Benedict recently ordained his Personal Secretary Georg Gänswein to the Episcopacy. It is customary for a Papal Secretary to be ordained a bishop upon the death of the Pope. This was the major indicator that something was upon us. At this point I was already worrying that the Pope saw something coming… I guess it was the Spirit moving him to do this.
As I found out yesterday, Pope Benedict has been visiting the relics of St Celestine, pleading in prayer. St. Celestine was another Pope who resigned.
As it goes, my Director, said that Augustine makes references for Bishops to resign for health reasons. A bishop is not ordained for himself, to Augustine, the bishop is ordained for service to God’s people: “For you I am Bishop, with you I am Christian.”
Ratzinger has a deep love for Augustine, always has an influence on him. Augustine always put humility first. He put humility second, and he put humility third. I admire Pope Benedict for deciding for humility. The papacy is not there for itself, but for the Church, God’s people. It is for us that he has done this. Pray for the Pope!