Pope and politicos-A A +A
Saturday, February 16, 2013
NEWS of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation stunned the world. It was an unexpected move from an ultra-conservative. Not a first, but the first in 700 years. In my book, that qualifies as bold, unorthodox and historic.
Some see the pope’s resignation as the beginning of the end. I disagree. I think the pontiff’s resignation will neither weaken nor destroy the Church. Rather, a stronger and better though possibly different church could emerge.
While it is likely that the next pope will follow the pontiff’s path, post-Benedict, anything is possible. We simply have to trust in the wisdom of God’s ways.
I admit I was disappointed when Pope Benedict ascended into the papacy. He was the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer for nearly a quarter of a century, in short a member of the “old boys’ club.” And yet, after almost eight years in office, Pope Benedict, while staying staunchly conservative, has surprisingly not always been as close-minded.
He has apologized for the sex abuse scandals rocking the Catholic Church. And he has somewhat relented on the issue of condoms for those afflicted with AIDs.
His latest decision to resign from the papacy and to retreat to a life of prayer is by far, his most magnanimous move. It speaks of a great sense of generosity. His willingness to accept his frailties, exhibits profound humility as well as humanity.
I can only wish that the politicians in our country follow the Pope’s path.
Many of our politicians cling to the power of their positions, forgetting that with these positions comes the inescapable duty of public service. How can you serve when you are bogged down by age, disease or both? How can you stand the rigors of public service when you are over 80? Or stricken with cancer, cardiovascular disease or kidney failure?
Granting that you are in top mental and physical form, age by itself sets inevitable limits on the body as well as faculties. You don’t need to be sick to retire. You simply need to have reached a ripe, old age to earn the privilege to gracefully give way to others.
If regular employment has a mandatory age for retirement, why should political candidates be allowed to seek office till death? Such greed is shameless. The nation teems with talent. Even monarchs abdicate. Our politicians should learn to stop running for public office when they are no longer able to dispense public service.
If the Pope, in recognition of his mental and physical frailties, can find the humility to renounce the ministry that God has given him, there is no reason why our politicians cannot find the strength of spirit to retire and renounce their positions of power when they can no longer truly ably serve the public.
Pope Benedict’s resignation, a conspicuous break from tradition, is of great significance. The uncompromising conservative has dared to walk the road less traveled. Do I dare call him a progressive pontiff? By whatever name he comes, he’s done well.
(Email: email@example.com/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/melanietlim)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 17, 2013.