I won’t lie.
I feel sick in the very pit of my stomach right now.
The pope is resigning.
Let that really, really, sink in for a minute.
When I heard the news, I threw up a little in my mouth. (TMI? My apologies.)
I sincerely believe that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI believes what he is doing is for the best and for the good of the Church and her members. I don’t know that I agree with his decision, but I don’t doubt his sincerity. I’m sure there is a great deal we will never know about how and why he came to this decision, and perhaps this is yet another lesson God is teaching us through this man: we aren’t in control. What I do know is that he is a truly good man and he deserves our prayers.
His witness is not the witness of Blessed John Paul II, and it is not supposed to be. Like it or not, we can’t go on for the rest of our lives, comparing every other pope to JPII. It just isn’t right or healthy. Much like romantic relationships, we simply have to focus on this Holy Father and our relationship with him and not compare him or it to the flurry or emotions we all have in relation to many of our first love, John Paul.
As this isn’t a matter of faith or morals, we don’t have to agree with his decision. All we have to do is respect it, and recognize that, as of February 28th, at 8 PM Rome time exactly, he will no longer be the pope, and acknowledge that, whomever the conclave chooses, he will be the sole valid Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ. It is the lot of a Catholic at times not to know but to accept, and there it is. We can be sad, upset, disappointed even, but we must be accepting and remain unified in support of the papacy.
With prayer and patience, this will all be sorted out. The Holy Spirit has never failed us before. He won’t start now.