|Benny in happier days having the lols at WYD, Cologne Germany 2006|
'Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.'
When I was a teenager, I got my first job working in the goods inwards section of a large department store. As jobs go, it probably still stands out as one of the toughest I've had. (Genuinely!) Since I was young, the older men with their coarse language, slagging (which was never gentle) and arguing were a real eye opener to the adult world. Likewise, they would tell me to do all the menial jobs to let me know who was really in charge, on my first day I was sent into a large freezer with just a t shirt on for an hour to wash the walls. I managed to last a full year working there full time, learning a lot about myself for not quitting it until I had to (for college, thankfully).
Cleaning grime out of large containers and lifting heavy boxes of household items while old men gave me stick was not my idea of a career but then again, if Christ Himself had spoke of the role the way that He spoke of the Papacy to St. Peter then perhaps I would have stayed in it longer.
Pope Benedict this week announced details of how he is releasing a new book which details his retirement and reflects on his life as a member of the Church.
An excerpt from it states that Benedict, speaking to an interviewer, went to the doctor one day in 2013 and the doctor told him he wasn't too healthy and Benedict was tired anyways because he had been to Mexico and Cuba and World Youth Day was coming up in Rio so he had to resign the Papacy.
He said that at World Youth Day The physical presence of the pope was indispensable. After listening to his doctor, Benedict says From that day, I had to decide in a relatively short time the date of my retirement.
The presence of the Pope at World Youth Day (which I was at this year and to be honest without denigrating him or the event I have to say the Pope's highlight is showing up and waving, captivating but not essential) is indispensable? What about his presence in the Church?
As for the talk with the doctor, well it is significant that the press release is followed by his declaration of admiration for his 'fraternal and paternal' friendship with Pope Francis.
After everything that happened with Vatileaks and everything that has happened with the subsequent papacy, it really does beg the question as to what actually went on to lead Benedict to resign. Is he in his right mind now? Is someone telling him to say these things?
I've no idea but the whole thing stinks. Whether he walked away genuinely because of World Youth Day or he is speaking under some sort of duress, it's a rottenness we won't be able to get away from until after both he and Francis are no longer Pope(s). If he really left the papacy because of this then it is dejecting, somewhat pitiful and discouraging given the bravery of Pope John Paul II in light of his debilitating physical ailments. But we should pray for Benedict nonetheless. If he was so naive and influenced by Modernism and a desire to give the dying embers of the Council some hope by redefining the Papacy, then he needs our prayers even more. And if it is for some other reason, linked to his resignation against his will, all of us need each other's prayers.
Because simply put, to think that World Youth Day could not radically change and adapt to not having a Pope BUT thinking that the Church could adapt to a dual Papacy or whatever the arrangement is, is just not the action of a man in his right mind. Especially one so well known for his intellect.
As Our Lord says 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against it'.
Doesn't seem to stop them trying though.