But we're filled with many questions. What do we call him after he resigns? Where will he go? How can he leave us?
Boomers like me immediately compare Benedict with the the Pope who filled most of our life- Blessed John Paul. How could Benedict step down when John Paul showed the world what suffering and the dignity of old age really was?
But it isn't fair to compare the two Pontiffs. While great friends with great respect toward one another, they are very different. And so were their Papacies. Benedict called himself a "little pope" and JPII a "great pope." While taking nothing away from beloved Pope John Paul, who changed our lives, what Pope Benedict accomplished in seven years would make even a super hero tired.
Pope Benedict's legacy will most certainly include the restoration of orthodoxy in the liturgy, especially in reviving the Extraordinary Form, orthodox appointments to the College of Cardinals, and in relations with Anglicans, The Society of Pius X, and the orthodox churches. And numerous books, and trips. Remember, Joseph Ratzinger was never one to see himself in the spotlight- unlike Karol Wojtyla, who was born to be on the world's stage. While we would like to see him stay to fulfill this mission, Papa knows best. And who has the most direct link to Heaven, if not the Vicar of Christ?
Cardinal Arinze explains:
"I haven't any doubt about his wisdom," the cardinal said. "He doesn't rush. He is not rash. He is gentle. But he's also clear-headed and firm."
Benedict, on the other hand, is teaching another lesson. He recognizes that he can no longer give his best to the Church, he loves. He is willingly stepping down so that another pope may more effectively lead the Church. Benedict’s greatest gift to the Church and the world is his humility. His resignation will set a precedent for future popes. And, his humility will be spoken of until the end of time.- Fr. Michael Orsi
Pope Benedict shows us there is dignity in relinquishing his position, in the humility it takes to know one's limitations, and to allow for the Holy Spirit to breathe life once again into Holy Mother Church. He is doing what is best for us, whether we understand or not. Courage and virtue come in many forms.
We love you Papa Benedict! Pray for us, as we pray for you!
Let us pray. O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord.