TODAY marks the end of the reign of Pope Benedict XVI as the head of the Catholic Church, in a manner like no other. We are witnessing the end of an epoch which last took place 598 years ago – a living Pope is acceding his office.
The speed of the decision and the implications (complications) have left clergy, laity and observers confounded.
We may not see this event in a long time or as the uncertainties of life continue, it may become common to resign, citing any of the numerous reasons that could limit his capacities to function or loss of interest in the office.
These are trying times for all parties – plus bystanders- as the Catholic Church grapples with the realities of life in the 21st century. If this incident happened in another century, fewer would have had a stake in it or realised its implications for their faith.
We wish the outgoing Pontiff well, especially, in line with his decision to live a prayerful life in a secluded monastery. It takes the noblest of mind to know when to quit and to understand that it takes courage to forgo power, influence and authority over billions of people, who literally swore by his name.
Pope Benedict XVI has displayed extreme courage to exit from office gracefully.
The sleazy tales that rocked the Catholic Church may have tainted his tenure, but the Bishop of Rome Emeritus, his new moniker, has played his part in the theatre of life. Would there be another Bishop of Rome Emeritus?
As Benedict XVI begins a new life dedicated to God in prayer, priests and the Catholic Church need his prayers. The stormy allegations against the papacy may not go away quickly, nor would the speculations about causes of his hasty departure.
The church cannot be oblivious of its environment and the reality of life in contemporary times. The new pope should do a serious rethink of the state of the church, purge it of its internal bad influences, and get the clergy to obey various oaths of service that they have taken.
Those who cannot cope with such discipline should leave pronto. The exposures and scandals among men of God and financial breaches at the Bank of Vatican are embarrassments to say the least. They blighted the image of the Catholic Church yet the depth of the rot may not clear up soon.
What would the Catholic Church be without celibacy of its clergy? Debates are mounting on the issue, but more than anything, the new pope would be fully occupied with the changing times which would remain more questioning of the church’s ways, hoping for changes.