It’s Not Benedict’s Fault If He’s Not Dying
In your mercy, please cut some slack for the Pontiff Emeritus.
We all remember the great weakness, the obvious frailty he showed during and after the time of his abdication. I have written here about why I think the abdication was wise, and as one who attributes at least some of the antics of JP II’s last papacy phase to his disease I hope I will never see a clearly non-functioning Pope at the head of the Church for a long time.
On another post – just reblogged, but also here for ease of future reference – I have dealt with the conspiracy scenario, and explained why I think such a scenario is just plain absurd.
The fact is, though, there: the Pontiff Emeritus thrives.
Good for him, say I. I can’t imagine him such a good actor, and his doctors such a wonder of medicine, that they would transform a sane man in the very frail man we have seen just after his abdication, the forces obviously leaving him very fast. I was not the only one thinking he was not long for this world.
He is thriving, poor chap. It goes to show that the challenges of being a good Pope are big, and they take their toll; up to the point that the Pope thinks: “I will soon reduce myself to a larva, and be the next John Paul II. Nein, Danke!”
Already 83, and just out of just another bypass operation, he saw the end coming. Not the end of his life, probably; rather the end of the active papacy he thought necessary for the Church. If it comes to pass that the man, relieved from his burden, recovers and is now able to stand for more than one hour, can it be his fault?
In my eyes, Benedict was right to abdicate; but he was very wrong in thinking his successor would have walked in his shoes. As the man who appointed around half the Cardinals who elected Pope Joke The Humble he could have done better, actually much better. He was, in this as in many other matters, too much of a gradualist, and the system he wanted to quietly reform is now reforming itself from his papacy, and not even quietly.
In my eyes, the homo scandal ( the famous 300 page report now put under a ton of sand by Francis; who knows if he was mentioned therein…) persuaded him that the great purge he thought had to come needed a stronger man than himself; a gentle man who had never been a fighter in his strongest years, benedict felt he did not have the phtysical or spiritual energy for this battle. Hence, the abdication.
If a man had been elected who was able and willing to continue Benedict’s policy, no one would have noticed that he is well other than to briefly remark how well he looks and what a joy it is to see him in form. Actually, most would praise his sensible timing, his move able to make sure the Church has a stable and orthodox guide for many years to come without the risk of a crippling de facto interregnum as, say, in the years 2000 to 2005.
Alas, it did not happen. But this proves nothing.
We must pay attention to put the abdication of Benedict into doubt; because if we do so, the election of Francis is automatically thrown into the same pot. Sedevacantism – albeit of a moderate sort – is the result.
If Benedict was forced out, I can’t see how Francis can be said to be in. If Francis is legitimately in, Benedict was not forced out. I can’t see any other solution here.
I am very glad to hear about the good wealth of the Pontiff Emeritus. It would be good if he were to attend in a state of comparable good health the funeral of his successor, or the enthronement of his successor’s successor.
He would then, perhaps, wonder about a well-known German saying: totgesagte leben laenger.