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Pope’s resignation teaches all of us to ‘let go’ PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ron Stegman   
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 11:06 PM

What I write is simply my own opinion of the resignation of Pope Benedict. I am very surprised by his resignation, just as most Catholics are, as well as much of the world. Catholics think of the Pope as being the leader of the church for life. As many know, the last pope to resign was Gregory 12th in 1415.

Benedict was elected pope at the age of 78. This is very unusual to choose someone that age. Obviously his health had deteriorated and he had grown weaker. Still, I am surprised he resigned. However, I believe he said in the past that if he was not able to physically, mentally, or spiritually perform his work as pope, he would resign.

In the last year or two as pope, John Paul the Second had a very difficult time because of his health. Perhaps Pope Benedict witnessed this and does not want to have that happen to him. He has had to deal with difficult issues in his short time as pope and, in my opinion, these many issues have weighed heavily on him.

I truly admire him for his resignation. He holds one of the highest positions in the world, and yet he can let that honor and work go. For me he is teaching the world to let go of things when we need to do so. He models the message that no position, privilege, job, institution, or possession needs to be clung to or always held.

For me, Pope Benedict shows us we are human beings who are subject to life and its struggles which we need to accept, and at times, let go.

What Pope Benedict does after his resignation at the end of February, I do not know. Perhaps few do. I read that he will still live in Vatican City. I personally can see him doing two things--praying and writing.
He still has a good mind and is an intellectual thinker and writer. Perhaps he will continue to serve with advice and insights.

The process of choosing a new pope will be the same process as when a pope dies. The cardinals will be summoned to Rome sometime in March and will hold a conclave--a private gathering of the cardinals--who will select the new pope. All of those who vote have been made cardinals by Pope John Paul or Pope Benedict. A two-thirds vote is needed to elect the new pope. This rule was put into place by Pope Benedict.
What is of interest in this selection is that Pope Benedict, even though he is a cardinal, cannot vote for the new pope because no cardinal over 80 is allowed to vote.

Ron Stegman, married for 42 years, taught theology for 19 years at St. Xavier High School. At present he coordinates small Christian groups , as well as projects for the Third World.

Last Updated on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 11:09 PM


0 #1 2013-11-22 14:09
You were one of my favorite teachers at St. X and I still apply much of what you taught. I had drifted away from the Catholic Church over the last 20 years as it became more clearly identified with the political right, but am very encouraged by the election of Pope Francis, who is restoring Christ's message of social justice to the Church's vision.