Before we go into the abdication of Pope Benedict the XVI let’s get the prophecies of St Malachi out of the way. They are not authentic. Fr Mitch Pacwa put them to rest on Threshold of Hope. They were written YEARS after the saints death or as he put it the Malarky prophecies. Argue if you like we are moving on. As you read all the commentary about Pope Benedict the XVI’s abdication keep those words of Jesus in mind.
First of all PBXVI is not abandoning anyone. The Church has a thing called apostolic succession which it has had from the beginning.When Judas needed replaced,they voted.They lay on hands. St. Paul said,hold fast to the traditions i have given you either orally(spoken)or written.The Church has, from authority to traditions, handed down all she has been given. First and foremost when Jesus gave Peter the keys,HE promised evil would not triumph over the Church.The Church is both human and divine.
Jesus never said evil would not exist not even with the people in His Church.Nor that a Pope would become immortal in this life because he had authority-only that evil would not triumph. He also said,whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,loose on earth,loosed in heaven.Note that the authority begins here.
Of course anti Catholics are quick to point out there were very openly sinful popes. Yes,there were a number of them. I say it is those popes, as well as the saintly,holy ones who attest to the truth of Jesus words. They never touched doctrine. Finally, for those who think this week has been difficult for the Church they have only to look to the past(begin with the Acts of the Apostles)to know that the Church has ALWAYS faced turmoil but has come out stronger for it.It will be that way until the end of time. In fact she has faced periods of great persecution and in the last days it may be the worst.
Before we go into the abdication of Pope Benedict the XVI let’s get the prophecies of St Malachi out of the way. They are not authentic. Fr Mitch Pacwa put them to rest on Threshold of Hope. They were written YEARS after the saints death or as he put it the Malarky prophecies. Argue if you like we are moving on.
As you read all the commentary about Pope Benedict the XVI’s abdication keep those words of Jesus in mind.
King James Version (KJV)
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
When all the questions,arguments,concerns arise(as they will)recall those words.
We may also want to reflect on the Pontificate of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict the XVI briefly.John Paul II taught us by example the teachings of the Church on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.He remained until his last breathe. He went before God-despite rumblings re his incapacity-and with a clear conscience stayed on. The Church suffered in some respects for his decision but learned from a far greater lesson. I think now we expect that all Popes-regardless of circumstances- will follow suit. This is not necessarily the key point.It is that John Paul II made the decision. When a Pope abdicates (resign is our cultural term-we can use it but abdicate is the more accurate one)he does not put in a request. One of his titles,among others,is Supreme Pontiff. He can seek advice and counsel or he may not but ultimately it is his decision. Bear in mind that no one is forced to accept the Petrine Ministry. Each one is elected and may refuse. Bear in mind also that the Pontiff takes no ‘I will remain or I will leave this ministry’ vow after he is elected.
There is no vow to stay until death or abdicate if they become incapacitated. IMHO this is an issue the Church might wrestle with now.We’ll get to that. In our Modern Age given all the advances in medicine it is possible for a Pope to live a longer but not necessarily healthier life. There are a lot of factors most of which depend upon the individual.Who would have known that Pope John Paul (I)would only be Pope for 33 days or that John Paul II would be Pope for 26 yrs?
( A reminder that no matter how advanced medicine becomes some things are just out of our hands).
We assumed because John Paul II was a young pope he would have a long pontificate. A fairly safe assumption. It is usually the case. We could probably have just as easily assumed Pope Benedict the XVI would have a shorter pontificate-not the 26 yr John Paul II had-because he was 78 when he was elected. The bottom line is this: each decision,in spite of pressure to either remain or abdicate,rests with one person who examine his conscience before God. The Holy Father tells us he goes before God with a clear conscience then we ,in charity,take his word for it.
We can also remind ourselves of the words of Christ. The gates of hell will not prevail. We have been blessed in our time to have 2 holy Popes who enriched the Church-who were 2 sides of the same coin so to speak. They were different in personality,style,age, experience and their writings.They both gave so much to the Church and guided her through the sometimes turbulent waters of post Vatican II. PART I……….hang in,it gets better.Part II Sunday Night. We’re going to delve into the usual circus of media speculation and i DEFINITELY have a few words to say about that.