Pope Benedict-A A +A
Saturday, February 16, 2013
THE resignation of Pope Benedict XVI struck like lightning not just on St. Peter’s Cathedral but surged like electricity that sent shock waves throughout the world. No one saw it coming. But surely, the pontiff thought about it a thousand times, and more importantly sought Divine Intervention.
There is no need for analysis, no ground for conspiracy theories, as the Pope made it clear that: “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry…in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
When he was chosen to lead the Catholic Church, it was unexpected as the soft-spoken Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was labeled as an ultra-conservative bookish theologian. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, was a venerable figure whose reign brought the papacy to the faithful in many countries and reached out to the youth for them to become disciples of the Lord. The question then was, “Could he fill the travel-worn shoes left by Pope John Paul II?”
When I founded TawagAwit, a Catholic Ministry in 2007, I had the chance to follow Pope Benedict in his papacy by carrying news of his activities, homilies and pronouncements in our ministry’s newsletter, New Notes.
His reign was not easy, as the Catholic Church got a media flogging for the wrongs done by some of its priests; as secularism threatened basic teachings of Christianity; as liberals pushed governments to recognize gay marriages and legalize euthanasia and abortion. The Pope remained strong in the faith as he defended traditional Catholic doctrine and values.
While politicians and policymakers have been persuaded to take the side of the noisy minority who scream “bias and discrimination” if they are not given their “rights,” Pope Benedict became the beacon of those who stood for decency, for morality, for the teachings of Christ.
If we think that modernity means acceptance of sinful acts, immoral practices and even murdering the unborn, the Bible tells us of more evil deeds that humanity engaged in Sodom and Gomorra. God punished sinners in biblical times. The pope as successor of St. Peter is the rock that shepherds us away from sin that continues to contaminate the world.
As a new pope will be elected during the Lenten season, let us pray for Pope Benedict XVI as he “serve(s) the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 17, 2013.