Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would resign as Pope on February 28th. This is indeed news. I read a book last year called The Pope Who Quit which I found quite interesting. Pope Celestine V resigned the papacy in 1294 (he served for five months). He was not the first and if my history is correct Pope Benedict will be the fourth Pope to resign the office. Pope Gregory XII (1406-1415) and Pope Pontian (235) are the other two. Pope Benedict has been a wonderful Pope and he has done much good in the short time that he has served the church as Pope. Now we wait to see who his successor will be.
Of course the Catholic blogs are buzzing with activity. One of the things I appreciated were these words from Elizabeth Scalia:
“I’m kind of appalled at how some members of the press are reacting to this. The announcement wasn’t two hours old when the cable news gasbags started in with their “wish list” and expressing hopes that the next pope “gets it right” on the “important issues.” A few sound like they’re all but crossing a line through this pontificate with zero understanding or appreciation of what it has actually been. And some of the comments in the Facebook threads are just so…awful. People are so busy thinking about their personal “agenda” for the church — be it “progressive” or “Conservative” — that they’re not even taking a breath to consider that the man and his pontificate will be more than a footnote to John Paul’s; they have no idea what a force for Christian unity he has been in the midst of so much division.”
You can read her full post here. She also has a short list of reactions from Patheos.