Ross Douthat “conservative columnist” of The NY Times writes about Pope Benedict’s resignation yesterday. He pinpoints how in recent years, in many ways very recent years, how the ministry of the Bishop of Rome has changed. And not for the better.
In The Pope Abdicates, he puts his finger on things Benedict tried to minimize: the cult of papal personality, a globe-trotting bishop, a world-powerful CEO, an international voice of reason, etc. The real power of the Pontiff is work of unity among all peoples and teaching and living the truth: Jesus Christ is true for all people because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
There are beautiful and positive lessons to be learned with Benedict’s resignation. God knows what he did when he gave Ratzinger the responsibility of being the Bishop of Rome. The challenges of a global Church worshiping the One, Triune God, preaching salvation, dispensing forgiveness of sins, being an example of love for the other, living according to the Magisterium, and the like, led by an 85 year old are very burdensome today. The humility of Benedict, who in good conscience likely did as much in 7 years as John Paul did in 26 is amazing. But you have to read this work to know this. His homilies and his talks are crucial to know his current thinking and direction. Take for example, Benedict’s 2005 address to the Roman Curia.
A lesson to study is how focussed are we on God? Is God our true center? Do we believe that Jesus is the center of our Church, or is the real head a man in nice clothes? Sentimental we can’t afford to be: there is something important at stake here: salvation.
Even without the office, Benedict remains a true Father of the Faith.