Pope Benedict XVI to Resign: A Shocking but Effective Move
Pope Benedict XVI will go down in the history as a model leader who realistically vacated his chair reading the signs of the time, when there was no pressure on him to do so. The Catholic Church should give Pope Benedict a standing ovation for such a bold and unprecedented move. The last Pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415. The decision to resign would be turning point in the history of the Catholic Church. His act sends strong message to the Church leaders that namesake authority can be dangerous to the Church in the modern world. They have to be responsible and capable leaders who has to be fully fit in discharging their duties. One of the most striking statement in Pope Benedict XVI ‘s resignation announcement is, “ 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.
Pope Benedict XVI a great theologian and scholar in the Catholic Church, knew better than any body about the state of affairs in the world which is heading in break neck speed. As the head of Catholic Church, he had all the freedom and mandate to continue in his position as the Pope without being questioned by anyone till his death. But what makes Pope Benedict XVI different is his awareness that a symbolic or a name sake Pope would be let down the Catholic Church in the modern world. Eventhough, Pope Benedict XVI has been mostly tagged as belonging to old school of thought, but with his resignation from the highest office of the Church, he has made a strong statement that he is a visionary leader with modern outlook. This bold act has to trickle down to the structurally strong layers of the Church. The time of symbolic authority in the Church is over. Those entrusted with power has to be pro active for Christ and his people. The retirement age set by the Church should not be the norm. But as Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “ 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.” It is not the external influence but self examination before the presence of God should be guide the Church leaders if the Church has to stay alive in the modern world.
The whole world and Catholic Church in particular are yet to come in terms with such a sudden announcement of Pope Benedict XVI ‘s resignation. But the rumour mills are working over time to spread spicy interpretation to such a visionary act. Ed Husain tweeted, (@ed_husain): A Vatican observer tells me Pope resigned b/c of doubts about God. Insider rumors. Will ever know? Church secrecy shrouds much. Bert Turner tweeted (@Bert_HappyDog): Could benedict’s resignation have anything to do with the fact he participated in the massive cover up of child sex abuse in thechurch?” This and many tweets, blogs and status messages are bringing up a plethora of senseless reasons for Pope’s resignation. The real reason for the resignation as outlined the Pope namely his old age which makes him unable to proclaim the Gospel in the modern world with strength of mind and body, should be an eye opener to the Church leaders and the message should not be drowned in the midst of these wild theories doing the rounds.
(The author is on twitter as @jeffshawn)