What Price for Papal Resignation?
When I was growing up, my family treated religion just like the decorative, high back chair my mother placed in a corner of the living room: It was so uncomfortable that no one ever sat on it; but it was always there, just in case we needed another seat for special occasions.
So even though the impending resignation by the Pope will have as much impact on me as Lance Armstrong getting stripped of all his cycling championships, I still feel compelled to comment.
We know that President’s can resign…
But a Pope? The last Pope resigned over 600 years ago because of the Great Schism (look it up yourself if you care!).
Think of this: When the search committee (a.k.a. the College of Cardinals) meets to select a new Pope, one of the great mysteries of Catholicism occurs: Sitting at the head of the conference table of the Papal-picking group of wannabe Popes…is divine intervention.
So after the cardinals deliberate…and argue…and cajole… and finally the white smoke replaces the black smoke and billows from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel…we have a new pope! But only through the highest executive order and not by the Cardinals.
(While this divine authority would not be covered under the expressed powers of a Heavenly Constitution – if there were one – it would be covered under the “implied powers.”).
And when God intervenes, you don’t get elected Pope for a puny four-year term like an American President. You’re “it” for life. There are no term limits in God’s time.
You have to answer to over a billion catholics, Pope Benedict. And don’t try to claim that you can’t be wrong because of the doctrine of Papal infallibility…because guess whose authority made you infallible?
Still want to resign Ratzinger?
I wouldn’t want to be you when you go into the confessional and St. Peter slides open that screen…