I woke today in a much better frame of mind. I think Our Holy Father has set a new standard for papal prudence in an age where one may well be alive and yet not fully competent, let alone able to handle the rigors of the papacy in the necessary way. This sister puts it well (h/t Leila Habra Miller):
“Pope John Paul II remained in office so that he might show us how to suffer and how to die. Pope Benedict XVI is leaving the Papal Office so that he might show us how to live in humble honesty.” — Sr. Mary Theresa, O.P (DSMME)
Pope Benedict is a very smart man; he knew that his announcement would shock and sadden many, but that it had to be done the way he did it to prevent as many power struggles/manipulations as possible. He also knows that the Church will go on in God’s grace.
The Anchoress has a very interesting theory, too: not retirement, but spiritual warfare. Let’s keep Pope Benedict — whatever his new title may be — in our prayers, even when he has gone to seclusion. We know that he will do the same for us.
P.S. My only prediction about the next pope is that he will be someone no one is talking about. The rest, I trust to the Holy Spirit.