From The Catholic Herald: 10 reasons to give thanks for Pope Benedict XVI

The pontificate of Benedict XVI was full of surprises and on Monday he sprang the greatest one of all. His abdication – the first for almost 600 years – caught even the Vatican unawares. As we struggle to absorb the news, here are 10 reasons to give thanks for his papacy.

His steadfastness: In his inaugural homily Pope Benedict said: “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.” In 2010 there was a concerted media effort to force his resignation under the cover of the clerical abuse crisis. He held firm and it is only now, in a rare tranquil moment of his papacy, that he has chosen to resign.

His crystal-clear teaching: Even in his abdication Pope Benedict was teaching us. His lesson – that none of us should cling to power – was conveyed with characteristic force and clarity. He has left us with a rich body of teaching, contained not only within his homilies, encyclical and trilogy of books on Jesus, but also in his actions.

His reform of the liturgy: Pope Benedict’s decision to lift restrictions on the older form of the Mass was historic. As well as rescuing the Extraordinary Form from oblivion, he has renewed the celebration of the Ordinary Form of the Mass in our parishes through the new English translation.

His programme of purification: From the Legionaries of Christ to Vatican finances, Benedict XVI has attempted to purify the Church of corruption. This concerted effort has barely registered in the media, but the Church will benefit from it for years to come.

His outreach to Islam: Pope Benedict did not shrink when his Regensburg lecture was violently misunderstood in parts of the Islamic world. While apologising for unintended offence, he stood by his address, which called for an alliance between Catholics and Muslims in our secular age. As a result, Catholic-Islamic dialogue is arguably stronger today than it has ever been. This is a vital achievement on which his successor can build.

His bravery: When Benedict XVI visited Turkey, at a time of intense Islamic anger after the Regensburg address, he refused to wear a bulletproof vest. His abdication showed an equally courageous trust in Providence.

His love of Britain: Benedict XVI felt a special affection for Britain. That is why he visited us in 2010, when so many other nations were tugging at the papal sleeve. He defended conscience in Westminster Hall as eloquently as St Thomas More, broke his own rule to beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman and strengthened our resolve to resist aggressive secularism.

His creation of the ordinariate: The ordinariate for groups of former Anglicans is one of Benedict XVI’s greatest legacies. It is remarkable that he was able to create this new structure, bringing thousands of souls into full communion, without irreparably harming relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

His balance: Pope Benedict was, at first, caricatured as an “arch-conservative”. But it soon became clear that he had a daring and supple mind that confounded crude labels. In an age of unbalanced thinking, his thought stood out for its harmony and integrity. With his notion of “the hermeneutic of continuity” he reconciled fidelity to tradition with the creativity needed to meet the challenges of our time.

His humility: Even within the Church it is hard for men to renounce power and status. Pope Benedict has shown remarkable humility in sacrificing his own papal ministry for what he believes is the greater good of the Church. Let’s pray for him, and for his successor, as we have never prayed before.

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9 Responses to From The Catholic Herald: 10 reasons to give thanks for Pope Benedict XVI

  1. Frere Rabit says:

    Spot on! When the news was announced on Monday I felt quite disoriented. It seemed unreal. After a few days to reflect on his ministry, his leadership and his Christian example, I feel there has never been a better time to be proud to be a Catholic in this world we live in. Deo gratias.

  2. Toad says:

    What nobody has yet suggested is that Benedict is quitting the Papacy in order to manage Real Madrid next season, after Mourinho.

    Who better for the job?
    Results is wot we want.

  3. Toad says:

    His steadfastness: In his inaugural homily Pope Benedict said: “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.” In 2010 there was a concerted media effort to force his resignation under the cover of the clerical abuse crisis. He held firm and it is only now, in a rare tranquil moment of his papacy, that he has chosen to resign.”
    It will seem to many of those with no axe to grind that “fleeing” is exactly what he has done.
    And in the process, has converted “a rare tranquil monent” into yet another media feeding frenzy.
    Which he must have surely foreseen?
    If we are seriously to believe there was “a concerted effort in 2010 to force his resignation, “ the fact that’s he’s now gone, barely three years later, seems to indicate ultimate success on the part of his detractors.
    Difficult to define all this as “steadfastness.”
    Or so it seems to me.
    Might be wrong, of course.

  4. Frere Rabit says:

    Toad, in the present moment in which Catholics all over the world are showing their strongest ap`preciation of the Pope, I wonder if you might find the kindness in your heart to appreciate him a little. Sometimes the cynicism is amusing. In this case it is less so.

  5. Toad says:

    For once (OK, twice, maybe) Rabit, I’m being quite serious on this issue. I appreciate the outgoing Pope rather a lot, and will miss him.
    However, I am of the opinion that The Catholic Herald, and many others on here, are currently whistling in the dark while wearing blinkers in Cloud Cookoo Land. (Mix that metaphor!)

    Because the full import of the resignation has yet to be appreciated.

    Imagine if, three or so years ago, when the pedophile scandals were homing in like “drones,” and Dawkitchins and Co. were baying for the old boy’s resignation – that I had agreed with them? Imagine the howling on CP&S? Pope resigning? Absurd! Unthinkable! Idiot amphibion! (I didn’t; thought the idea ridiculous and preposterous) but now The Godless have prevailed. They got what they wanted. This will not go unremarked.

    It was probably a good idea from Benedict’s standpoint to get out while he still could.
    Only human and all that. He’s earned a nice rest, if anyone has.

    But, as we will very shortly see, from now on every time there is a sexual or financial scandal at the Vatican (say every three months, or so) the instant response will be, “The Pope must resign!” The big difference is it can be taken seriously from now on.
    There is precedence.

    This was a fearful error on someone’s part. (A cardinal one.)

    The Papacy is now a CEO’s job like any other big corporation – where, if things get rough, you can strap on your golden parachute and jump laughing out of the boardroom window.
    Much more importantly, it introduces the notion of impermanence which, I gather, is anathema to Catholicism.
    He should have gone down at the helm of The Bark of Peter, humming “Abide with me.”

    New pope, women priests? We shall see. Anything is now possible.
    All past bets are off. (Except possibly, on the Swiss dude.)

    All this is just my rambling, uninformed, opinion, mind you.

  6. Toad says:

    (Eccles: I think I spelled “cookoo” wrongly. Looks wrong to me, anyway.
    Feel absolutely free to fix it.)

  7. JabbaPapa says:

    It’s cuckoo

    New pope, women priests? We shall see. Anything is now possible.

    Women priests are not possible. The doctrine stating that only men can be ordained as priests is infallible. Any Pope attempting to rule otherwise would be instantly and automatically excommunicated from the Church, by his own actions.

    The Papacy is now a CEO’s job like any other big corporation

    No it is not.

    Are you confusing the Holy Father with the Archmanager of Canterbury ???

    There is precedence.

    Not counting various anti-popes, there have been 6 or 7 papal abdications in the past.

    You’re reading too much into your tealeaves — there always has been precedent !!!

  8. Toad says:

    Just wait and see, Jabba. The tea leaves never lie.
    The significant word Toad didn’t use, in regard to the Pope’s chosen course of action, was “implicxations.”. Which will be dire.

    The reason Toad didn’t use it was that he was afraid he might spell it incorrectly, and make “Eccles” grumpy.

  9. Toad says:

    Doh! Fie! Now an “X” has appeared, inexplicably, in “implications.”
    That wasn’t there just now!
    Toad is plainly going cuckoo, as well as blind.
    And “Eccles” has been vindicated yet again..

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