For someone like myself this sucks because he’s is a great hero of mine. I often call him the Thomas Aquinas of our day because he is a titan of intellectuality combined with pure devotion to the Lord.
He was elected when he was 78 years old, looking to retire in less than two years time to go home to Bavaria where he could write his masterpiece, Jesus of Nazareth, and finish out his days peacefully. When the council called on him to take the reigns of the Church, he says that in his mind he said to God, “please don’t do this to me.” Why would he say that? Maybe it’s because the Pope is invested with the greatest responsibility in the world, to lead the Church to heaven. All eyes are on him, it is over a billion faithful that have been entrusted to him, and if he messes up in a big way, it’s our souls he has to account for before God. I know I would not want that responsibility.
In spite of his desires, he said yes, and thank God he did, because the Church has gotten more out of him than anyone could have hoped for. I don’t know how he accomplished all that he did, if you watch the German documentary “A Day in the Life of the Pope,” you will see how unrelenting his day is.
What did we get from Pope Benedict XVI? Decisive action to deal with the priest scandal that has rocked the Church. The continuation of World Youth Day started by John Paul II. A strengthening in the battle against moral relativism. Leaps and bounds toward reconciliation and reunification (again a continuation from JPII) with different groups such as the Lefebvrians, the Church of England, and our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters. And most importantly, I think, the launch of the New Evangelization, which is what inspired the creation of the UC Society of St. Paul. That is just scratching the surface. In all I think the Pope’s reign can be characterized with the words “unexpected renewal.”
Written by: Marty Arlinghaus