11 February 2013

10 Initial Takes

Because of course it is the thing about which we are all thinking and praying, here are some of my initial thoughts:

1. First, a caveat--Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope, and as such, neither I nor any member of the faithful may judge him. By this I mean not only that kind of judgement which we should avoid making against anyone, but more specifically, it is not within the province of any person to judge the Pope. He is accountable only to God. We may be able to state our opinions, based on our understanding of things, but only in a relative way. Even then, such opinions are not often helpful. I have read theories in certain places, based on the writings of St. Robert Bellarmine and other saints, that perhaps the Pope could be called to an accounting by the entire college of Cardinals, in a formal procedure. Whatever the case, that ain't us.

2. That being said, I was shocked like most of you at the news. It is one thing to resign as an architect at a large construction firm, or even to resign as the CEO of Microsoft, but it is another to stop being the Pope. It's as if I could tell my children one evening that I was no longer their father. It felt like the proverbial gut punch, as others have written. I have long felt that Something Big is set to happen, and this feels like it is the felling of a Great Wall of Defense against that Something. But of course we have to wait and see, and refrain from silly predictions. The photo above-- lightning hitting St. Peter's hours after the announcement-- sure seems ominous, though.

3. Resign? No. A king abdicates. And the pope is the Vicar of the King of Kings. He is the Supreme Pontiff. It may seem picky, but words mean things, and I think it's important to refer to this as it is in reality. Christ is King, not any earthly leader. He is Saviour, not any earthly cabal. Our King's Regent is retiring from the field, and the battle is hot. We are very hard pressed. We need a champion to take his place.

4. Feel free to ignore any list of papabile, and the odds therefor. Hearing secular media talking heads give odds makes me laugh. It was highly improbable that Cardinal Ratzinger was to appear on that balcony in 2005, but he did. According to this logic, that makes Cardinal Burke a lead-pipe cinch as next Pope. Why? Because his election is impossible, as the world reckons it. But whether Cardinal Burke or anyone else is tabbed, we must have faith, and remember that the Holy Ghost is in charge. Because if one of the oft-suggested of the papabile named in the press were to be elected, I might just puke.

5. The Holy Father and the next Holy Father need our prayers. The Church needs prayers. Pray for everything you already know needs praying for, but also for clarity. Clarity. That we know who the Pope is when the time comes. With Il Duce announcing a new "cyber security" executive order in advance of a false flag possible terrorist attack on the Internet, who knows when our flow of information will be cut off? Pray there will be no confusion.

6. We need Mary to help us. We need her, the Mediatrix of All Graces. She alone can help us. Fatima has yet to play out. Pope Benedict, for all the good he did, is the seventh straight Pope who has failed to consecrate Russia to Mary's Immaculate Heart as she instructed at Fatima. It must be done. Mary said it would be, though it would be late, and that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph. I pray that this triumph need not wait until the very End. If only Pope Benedict would do this before the end of the month...

7. Will it be the next Pope, as some have long predicted? Will the next Pope be the Petrus Romanus of the St. Malachy prophesy? Will the next Pope be the one to restore the traditional Mass as the normative Mass of the Roman Rite? The Church is on her way to recovery when-- and only when-- this happens. Don't think so? Sorry.

8. I don't know what the future holds for the Rome-SSPX situation, but I doubt anyone feels good about it right now.

9. The Church needs courageous leadership to stand up to the Soeteros of this world-- to the "anti-" or "Anti-" Christs, that will present themselves over time. True. But we need courageous Catholics, full stop. Let us not be unmanned. Our ancestors in the faith went willingly, even cheerfully, to their deaths to witness for the God Who sent His only Son to an ignominious death to save us. Let us love Him, and follow Him to Calvary. Thus it will be that we will then merit to praise Him forever in Heaven, our true homeland.

10. Finally, I cannot end this post without expressing my own gratitude to God for Pope Benedict-- regardless of the merits or failures of his reign in other areas, he issued Summorum Pontificum, acknowledging the right of priests to offer, and the right of the faithful to hear, the traditional Mass. If he had done nothing else, he would deserve our everlasting thanks. I refuse to dwell on the missed opportunities today-- it is not fitting, on this day, for one thing. And also, recall point number one, above.

May God have mercy on His Church, His Vicar, and this guilty world.

Mary, Mother of the Church, Our Lady of Fatima, and Help of Christians, pray for us!

St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, pray for us!

St. Peter, pray for us!

St. Benedict, pray for us!

St. Raymond Nonnatus, pray for us!


Anonymous said...

He had a front-row seat to JPII's innefective and embarrassing last few years and said "I won't disgrace this seat like that."

thetimman said...

Perhaps, but I for one don't think that the process of growing old, or of suffering from illness, is disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

completely agree timman


Anonymous said...

Anon, and yet, BJPII continued on, no doubt with the assistance of those around him. Indeed, as Timman notes, the process of growing old, suffering and illness are not disgraceful. It can be, and often is, an opportunity for grace.

Thank you Timman for this insightful and thoughtful post.


Anonymous said...

I assumed you were bright enough to know that that's not at all what I meant. Having a disease or mental or physical limitation is not disgraceful. Refusing to accept that you simply can't carry on as before, is where the opportunities for disgrace enter in.

X said...

Sometimes I don't think people realize how physically difficult 85 really is. Let's face it most men are dead by then. The oldest Supreme Court Justice is 76. Take a trip to the nearest old folks home and find out what 85 is really like, or better yet go to the cemetery because that's where most of them are.
As a pope I do not have strong feelings for Benedict. Permitting what was always permitted is not generous, it's merely a lessening of persecution. The same could be said about the so-called excommunications.
Many traditional/orthodox Catholics suffer from battered wife syndrome. Like an episode of cops, as the faithless, shirtless spouse is being dragged off by the police the long suffering wife, with black eye and cigarette firmly in place, can be seen clinging to his leg wailing, "But I loooove him."

thetimman said...

Well, anon, let's not anymore assume that I am bright, and then we all win.

I had assumed you had read the advisal above the comments box that anonymous comments are not allowed. Sorry. Please put a name with your future comments. Pax.

Jane Chantal said...

Yesterday, I was thinking that this decision must have required unimaginable courage on the Holy Father's part. Whatever has motivated him to take this step, it surely must be something that has had such impact on him -- is so enormously compelling -- that it would be difficult for the "average" person to get his or her mind around it. This is by no means any denigration of the "average" person -- it is just a rather terrifying recognition that the Holy Father isn't playing some kind of silly game here, but living a reality that is in every way unique.

For some reason, I keep thinking of Jesus' words in John 16:12 -- "I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now."

HSMom said...

Indeed, Timman. And the Church, in her wisdom, knowing full-well that human beings decline physically and/or mentally in their old-age, nonetheless calls the man who would be the Vicar of Christ, the Pope, to that ministry for life.

Dan said...

Wow, Timman. Two of these commenters are brutal when it comes to understanding what getting older is like.
May others have more mercy on them, in advanced age, than they are showing to the Holy Father. By the way, I am fortunate to work in a nursing home and am able to see how delightful and challenging growing old can be. I heartily support the Holy Father's decision.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful analysis, Tim. I couldn't agree more.

Have a Holy and Blessed Lent.



Anonymous said...

Dan - I cannot speak for HSMOM (not sure who the second one is), but I would suspect she is just as sensitive to the plight of the elderly as you are.

Take it up with the Church, who says that the divine call to the Papal Office is for life. This in no-wise casts aspersions on the Holy Father's stepping down, it is a statement in fact.


Mary said...

Like Jane above, I too recognize the great act of bravery on the Holy Father's behalf. This is perhaps, the greatest act of humility that one in his position can practice and I find it rather daunting that some can be get so caught up with the minutia of "getting old". It's been 600 years since a Pope has abdicated and never has it been done because of age. The Holy Father, acting under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, knows best what is right for the Church. We should have no concern! The Holy Ghost is preparing to strengthen the Church for something big.... Long Live the Papacy! And May God bless Pope Benedict XVI

Athelstane said...

Resign? No. A king abdicates.

Thank you. I've been trying to make that point to others, to no avail. Even the Catholic press too often gets it wrong.

Will the next Pope be the one to restore the traditional Mass as the normative Mass of the Roman Rite? The Church is on her way to recovery when-- and only when-- this happens.

I could not have said it better myself.

But I am all for generosity. We could have an indult for the novus ordo, especially where older laypeople or priests still have an attachment to it.

Anonymous said...

So much lack of faith in the Holy Spirit on evidence here. [SADFACE]

Here is a take on Pope Benedict XVI's abdication that, to me, rings all too chillingly true:


In charity,

Proud SLPS Parent

JBQ said...

The Latin Mass appears to be the lynchpin on the reversal of all problems in the Catholic Church. There is no doubt that Malachi Martin profiled entirely where Vatican II was going. Benedict did his best. God Bless him. "There is no joy in Mudville, Mighty Casey has struck out".