John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

Don't let the porta sancta hit ya

Pope Benedict XVI was a guy who was in many ways different from his recent predecessors. He was older: the oldest man elected pope since Clement XII in 1730. He was first German, the first in 950 years. (I don't count Adrian VI.) He was the first Pope whose regnal name included neither John nor Paul since 1958. And now he's the first Pope for voluntarily resign since Celestine V in 1294. (Gregory XII resigned more recently, in 1415, but he left as part of a deal to end the Western Schism.)

I wouldn't say I'm all broken up by Benedict XVI's decision to step down. I mean, I'm no Know-Nothing or Cisalpinist or what have you — if the Roman Catholics want a Pope, they should have a Pope — but I'm a Presbyterian, and the concept of putting one guy in charge of the whole church seems pretty ridiculous to me. I don't think he's the antichrist like some Lutherans do, but neither do I believe that he's chosen by God as a direct successor to St. Peter.

But he does, which is why it's a little weird that he presented the resignation as being his own decision. "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. … I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me." Considering Benedict XVI has said that he didn't want to be elected Pope — he told CBS News that during the Papal conclave that elected him, he "prayed to God 'please don't do this to me'...Evidently, this time He didn't listen to me" — you'd think that nothing less than a direct message that God no longer wanted him to be Pope would convince him to step down

Nevertheless, as a fellow April 16 baby, I wish him well in retirement. As for the new Pope, whichever old European man he turns out to be, I hope he takes Sixtus VI as his regnal name. It's got a nice ring to it! Barring that, he could consult this list of possible names I drew up back in 2005, shortly before the Papal conclave that elected Benedict XVI convened. I still like #10.
 
Tags: current events, religion
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