Pope Benedict XVI Aborts Papacy
Monday, February 11, 2013
So I woke up this morning seeing Twitter and Facebook posts about the Pope resigning the papacy. I honestly thought it was some big joke that had gone viral, especially since Lent begins in two days. But it turns out, Pope Benedict XVI quite literally gave his two week notice. Seriously. He leaves in two weeks. The jokes were instantaneous: What's the Pope giving up for Lent? Being Pope. And is it ironic that the Pope just aborted his papacy?
This is massive news. The last time a Pope resigned the papacy was 600 years ago. In that case, it was Pope Gregory XII who resigned because of a conflict within the Roman Catholic Church. In this case, the 85-year-old Benedict -- born Joseph Ratzinger -- is citing physical infirmity.
The Roman Catholic Church is not an insignificant player within the vast forest that is traditional Christianity. It is perhaps the biggest of its trees. But it's strength and credibility have been fading for many, many years, especially since being dragged out of the closet of secrecy and cover-up which revealed the reality of so many of its clergy sexually assaulting and raping children. And sadly, Pope Benedict will be remembered as the head of a church whose hierarchy, which included him, turned a self-interested blind eye to the rape of children, letting them suffer, and holding their assailants unaccountable. That will be Benedict's legacy. He does not resign with honor. He resigns in shame.