Monday, 11 February 2013

Pope Resigns!

Well, as if a virtual tour of the Grand Canyon wasn't exciting enough, we can presently (Feb 11th, 10:00PM AEST) report that the Pope has resigned, effective later this month, citing increasingly poor health. We can expect a conclave come March. I wouldn't normally bother to take note of this, since the old manse makes no pretense to being an ecclesiastical news blog, but since none of the blogs expected to do so, not even National Catholic Reporter or Sentire Cum Ecclesia, has this up as yet we couldn't resist the chance to scoop them!
It will indeed be interesting to see who is elected to replace Benedict. Not that we hold any hope that the essential nature of the Papacy will be changed thereby, it will just be... interesting, as they say, and no doubt quite momentous for the immediate future of the Roman Catholic Church and those in her thraldom, whoever is elected. For example, will Benedict remain an éminence grise behind the scenes, or will this mark "generational change" in the Vatican? Whatever the case may be, we commend Benedict for pardoning his whistleblower butler as one of his final official acts. We also hope he has more time to read Luther in his retirement - we suggest re-visiting the seminal works of 1520.

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. 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. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

BENEDICTUS PP XVI

4 comments:

Tom Moeller said...

A well composed letter of resignation (Latin is always preferred in formal communications).

A view from Texas.
I can't help but focus on some of the phrases he used in this letter and assuming the full authority and wisdom of the Pope is in play here...
1. Petrine ministry. Is the church divided ... some follow Paul, some follow Peter (Lutherans follow the Christ).
2. ..govern the bark of Saint Peter. Again distinction of apostolic teaching suggested.
3. ..the ministry entrusted to me. This fuzzes the divine right issue of Papal authority. Unless, of course, you read it as entrusted by God and not the College of Cardinals.
4. ..entrusted to me by the Cardinals.. Well that illuminates #3.
5. ..a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is. Is the Pope superior by his selection through a process undertaken by inferiors to the Papal office? Yes. Humanizing divine right?
6. Does maternal solicitude (Mary) trump divine intercession (Jesus)? If yes, oh no.

Northwest SD Lutheran said...

I guess this should not be a surprise considering his prior comments about health and the ministry. While not Catholic I think he made a good point about this. However, I know many older pastor's who still do a fine job in spite of their health difficulties. But such difficulties in the long run could possible hinder one's ministry, perhaps.
What I noticed about this is of course his references to Mary as one who will help the Cardinals make their selection with her maternal solitude. The Marionlatry continues . He also asks for the forgiveness of his brothers for his defects and distances Christ from any part in the selection of the next Pope or forgiveness of his sins. He instead relegates all of the authority to the Blessed Virgin which is unscriptural ( no surprise here!). When I say Blessed Virgin I mean this in scriptural language.
Apart from his letter, a reporter on the radio in my hometown said that they wanted a pontiff who could communicate with the world or the so called post church. What is funny about this is how can a church body that so many know as synonymous with abuse communicate anything positive to those outside? What is next further liberalism? If we strive to please men then neither we nor our pastors are doing their job.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm a first time visitor to this blog and am disappointed by the choice of words such as 'thraldom' and 'Not that we hold any hope that the essential nature of the Papacy will be changed thereby'. It seems a little unkind to my faith.
Also I have read that Benedict XVI has read more of Luther's works than many Lutheran pastors. Perhaps we all are in thraldom to our own opinion.

Mark Henderson said...

Dear Anon.,

It's a blog - it's meant to be a bit provocative and idiosyncratic.

But in any case...

You wrote, "I'm a first time visitor to this blog and am disappointed by the choice of words such as 'thraldom'"

Thraldom: 'One who is intellectually or morally enslaved'. Since Papists surrender their their intellectual and moral discernment to the Roman teaching office, 'thraldom' doesn't seem too far off the mark, does it?

"...and 'Not that we hold any hope that the essential nature of the Papacy will be changed thereby'."

When the Papacy changes for the better, by renouncing its unhistorical and false claims to universal jurisdiction and authority in the church and withdrawing its anathema against the Gospel as understood by Lutherans and millions of other evangelical Christians, I'll be among the first to praise it. Until then, do you just expect me to overlook these characteristics of the Papacy? Religion is a serious matter, eternally serious, my friend. The claims the Papacy makes are not minor matters; they can only be accepted or rejected in toto. If rejecting them seems "unkind" to you, how do you think we feel about the Pope pronouncing our ministry invalid?

"Also I have read that Benedict XVI has read more of Luther's works than many Lutheran pastors. Perhaps we all are in thraldom to our own opinion"
I don't know how many of the works of Luther Benedict has read, but I know he has read the major ones. Unfortunately, they seem to have had little positive impact upon his theology beyond a grudging acknowledgement that Luther got some things right. In 1984 Benedict - then Cardinal Ratzinger - said that if Luther were alive today he would still be called up before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (used to be known as 'the Inquisition') for investigation and discipline. That seems more than a little unkind to me.

Btw, one of the works of 1529 that I suggested he read is called 'The Babylonian Captivity of the Church'; 'captivity' = 'thraldom'...get it? Perhaps not, but most educated Lutheran would.

I'm sorry if I come across a little bit short with you, I'm really a "nice guy" (even if I say so myself) but I do get passionate about these matters.

Do read up more about Luther - I also suggest reading the Augsburg CoOnfession; it can be found on-line.

Blessings in that endeavour.