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AbdicationGate?

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“[…]tra un mese Anonimidellacroce sarà in grado di pubblicare il contenuto della lettera fatidica che Benedetto ricevette prima di decidere di dimettersi”.

“In a month, AnonymousoftheCross will be able to publish the content of the fateful letter Benedict received before deciding to resign”

The bomb was published here.  More to come in a month (means: after Easter? Or literally during Holy Week?). The motives of Benedict’s abdication were allegedly a) very serious and b) nothing to do with his health. 

Yours truly reads, and reflect as follows: 

  1. I have always thought Benedict a decent man. Therefore, I have always believed his words, that his resignation was due to his feeling he was not strong enough to keep being an effective Pope. I think we owe the man, as every man we believe decent, to believe what he says until the contrary is proven.  
  2. I will wait to see whether something really gets published, and really confirms Benedict decided to resign because of external pressure. If it turns out Benedict is a liar (and, inevitably, a coward of stellar proportions), this is the reality we will have to live with. My estimation of the man took a decided turn south when he gave the gushing FrancisInterviews anyway. However, I greatly hesitate in believing that he could be such a horrible person. 
  3. If it turns out Benedict was put under pressure to resign, do not think for a moment this justifies the old man, no matter what caused the abdication. There is no universe in which the resignation of a Pope because of external pressure cannot be an act of immense cowardice. It is inconceivable that, say, Pius XII would have resigned if Stalin had said to him: “either you abdicate or I start a nuclear war”. A Pope must never be strong-armed, full stop. Nor does the Church recognise the idea of a Pope resigning because he embraces some “lesser evil” to avoid a bigger one. The idea that Benedict might have resigned to protect himself I do not even want to entertain.  
  4.  If it turns out Benedict was put under pressure, I will leave it to expert theologians to decide what happens next. However, it seems difficult to me to deny that the decision of Benedict was, in any way, voluntary. It is, also, what the man explicitly stated. If a Pope abdicates because he is a coward my first take is that he has still abdicated, and he is still a coward. To my knowledge, there is no provision that says that if the Pope is a coward, the next Pope can’t be validly elected. If this were the case, we would have the rather problematic possibility that the last, say, 203 Popes were invalidly elected and we never knew it.We live in the Age Of The Kitten. An age in which people like Cardinal Burke are considered courageous. We must cope with the fact that our clergy are a bunch of girls, Popes possibly included. But this does not mean that the entire institution of the Papacy is put into question.  
  5. It can still be that nothing comes out of this. “Fra’ Cristoforo” clearly wasn’t there, and he might not have seen the letter he mentions. Even the best can be deceived. 
  6. Don’t be distressed. Bad Popes are a constant fixture of the Church. Many Popes in the past have been put under pressure to condemn and destroy good people or institutions (Joan of Arc and the Knight Templars come to mind). The Church has survived. 

In what horribly entertaining times it was given us to live…! 

M

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