Reflections on the Holy Father's Impact on One Solitary Life
Those in office are unapologetically and aggressively forcing a dramatic shift to the left, leaving many with the question of what has happened to our country.
Pope Benedict sees this. He also knows what is happening in other parts of the world. While the world is shrinking due to technology, he understands "hi tech, hi touch." As John Naisbitt forecast many years before, the more society develops in the area of technology, the more they need a human touch.
The pope's most powerful pulpit comes in the midst of his people. While he can reach the world from Rome, he knows how much he - or the Holy Father - needs to touch it. Just look at the impact of the World Youth Days.
It seems to this writer that the Pope has a strong conviction that the leader of the Church must be strong enough to travel and talk - battling the spirit of the Age from places not like home. In the eighteenth century, the Methodist/Anglican John Wesley wrote, "all the world is my parish." For the Pontiff, that is really true!
I also have to believe that Benedict is resigning, with the supreme confidence that the Cardinals currently in place will elect the leader that God wants. He knows these men well and he understands what the Church needs. By resigning, he knows that the transition of leadership can be orderly and without the added dynamics of the death of the former leader.
Our Holy Father has indicated that he wants to give the rest of his life to prayer and writing. May God grant him many years, many happy years. As a gifted theologian, he has already gifted the Church with great works over many years both before and after his election as Pope. I can only imagine what he may be able to add to his legacy.
I admire Pope Benedict for breaking with expectation. It was a courageous act on his part, based on deep and long-suffering prayer, a comprehensive examination of conscience and the conviction that this is the best decision for the Church.
Now, we pray. Eight years ago, we witnessed a hand off from a pontiff that many felt would be a hard act to follow. Pope Benedict came in as his own man. He didn't imitate his predecessor but built on his shoulders. Now, he has left his own amazing imprint on the See of Peter and his predecessor will learn how to fill the shoes of the fisherman.
Father Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and a priest with the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (http://usordinariate.org) established by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, through the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus." He is currently the chaplain of the St. John Fisher Ordinariate Community, a priest in residence at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church and Director of Pro-Life Activities for the Ordinariate.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, resignation, Personal Ordinariate
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