2 popes: real and shadow?-A A +A
Friday, March 1, 2013
EVEN before Pope Benedict XVI's resignation was to take effect (Feb. 28 at 8 p.m.), there were talks of a possible schism or division in the Catholic Church.
What set off speculation were, would you believe, such bureaucratic and mundane decisions as how Benedict would be addressed, what he'd wear, where he'd stay, and who his trusted aide would be.
Benedict and the new pope would be called "Your Holiness," both would wear white, live within the Vatican, and share the same secretary.
But would that be enough to split loyalties: one for the real pope and the other for a shadow pope?
Benedict said he wasn't "coming down from the cross"; he'd remain in the service of the church. But his qualifier is specific: "through prayer."
His retirement would be "simply a return to the private place." He wouldn't "revoke" active ministry but he wouldn't exercise it: no public stage, travels, meetings.
He had been pope for eight years, leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, and vicar of Christ. He gave up power and trappings as supreme pontiff. Would he sow dissent in the church he used to lead?
Rocked by child-abuse scandals and leaks of secret documents and plagued by diminishing flocks, the 2,000-year-old church needs more active leadership and stronger faith, to keep old devotees as it must seek new believers.
But whatever the threat, the new pope would've the power to quell it and assert his authority on earth and invoke the help of heaven.
Seeing the church as a ship, Benedict said, despite rough waters and stormy seas, "God will not let her sink."
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 01, 2013.