Pope Benedict will resign his office today. I wish him all the best. I can only imagine the burden he lays down now. Actually I can’t. Being the Vicar of Christ and having the responsibility of shepherding His Church? Only the men who have have filled the shoes of the Fisherman can have any comprehension of what must be the crushing weight of that office. I hope he enjoys his well earned rest. What are the practical long term consequences of his decision?
1. What does the old Pope think? The new Pope will have to deal with something none of his predecessors had to deal with: an aggressive world wide media incessantly trying to ask Benedict how his successor is doing. I am confident that Benedict will remain mum, but that will not stop rumors from constantly arising as to whether he is pleased or displeased with the actions of his successor. If this resignation starts a trend in popes resigning, then this may be something new for future popes to have to wrestle with.
2. Will Benedict write his memoirs? I doubt it, but it is a possibility. Popes commenting on their own papacy in retrospect is something new under the sun.
3. New ammo for the sedevacantists? Opposition to the new Pope, and opposition there will doubtless be, on the fringes may argue that he is not really Pope because the resignation was invalid. Since popes have resigned before I do not find this argument logical, but I am certain this will be made.
4. Push for a papal mandatory retirement age? There is already a mandatory retirement age of 70 for priests and 75 for bishops and archbishops. I always have thought this was an unwise act on the part of Paul VI and I fear that there may be a push for such a mandatory retirement age for popes.
5. Psst, did you hear the Pope is going to resign? The Vatican has always been a rumor mill and now we will have a new one. Whenever a Pope sneezes the rumors are going to fly. Continue Reading