Explain Copyright UK

How, during the lifetime of a pope, can his successor gain the authority he needs? We are in a time of uncertainty: but we are also in God’s hands  February 18, 2013 – 12:01 pm
under UK copyright law

The reaction of most Catholics to the Holy Father’s decision to abdicate at the end of the month has been largely supportive. Even those of us who wish he hadn’t done it have tried to accept his retirement as being the best thing that could have happened. Loyal Catholics are in the habit of accepting and being guided by the pope’s decisions, after all. But I am beginning to detect another current of opinion, one with which I have to admit I am not entirely out of sympathy. Don’t mistake me. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this decision really is in the best interests of the Church. Pope Benedict knows more than we do what he is capable of; and more to the point, perhaps, what the other factors are that he is taking into consideration.

But among loyal Catholics there is another reaction, of which we ought perhaps to take cognisance, since it may be a part of our own feelings that should be confronted if we are really to come to terms with the reality: the reality that we are now in the final days of the pontificate of Benedict XVI. It is this: the sense that for a Pope to resign is unthinkable: and that he shouldn’t, therefore, have done it. I myself wrote a blog last year (of which I have been reminded by crowing Anglicans) explaining why it couldn’t happen: these jubilant Anglicans have demanded that I return to the subject to explain myself (what they want is a grovel, which they’re not going to get): of that, more presently. But some quite moderate Catholics are beginning to question what the pope has done. Charles Moore, in the Spectator, puts it quite quietly: “Pope Benedict is stepping down for conscientious reasons about which he will have thought deeply. But I still fear that his decision is a mistake… The orthodoxy has grown up that the long physical decline of Pope John Paul II was a disaster which should not be repeated. This is not so… The papacy is a sacred office, and the idea that its holder gives himself to it for life, despite whatever suffering it may entail, is an inspiring one. John Paul bore moving witness to this.”

Source: CatholicHerald.co.uk » CatholicHerald.co.uk | Breaking news and opinion from the online edition of Britain’s leading Catholic ...

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