something about everything

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…



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2 thoughts on “What Price for Papal Resignation?

  1. I hear what you say and I know the Catholic church has been very unbending and still is in so many ways. However, I think Pope Benedict isn’t doing anything that terrible. When a pope becomes so old and ill he can no longer function someone else must be stepping in anyway. So he’d simply be little more than a figure head at such times. The Catholic church is going through huge crisis at present and the new Pope seems more suited to dealing with it, both with more energy and better health. I think God Himself knows how to put up with the failings and frailty of humanity or He’d have given up on us from the start. There’s always going to be both good, very good, excellent and bad, terrible, evil people inside and outside the church. The church is there as a guide. It doesn’t always fulfil its purpose due to these failings on behalf of human beings. As for God and his purpose, unless we were equal to Him we could never expect to fully comprehend His workings in this world. Just my view here. Religion is a mine field for most people. I expect others will have other views to share with you. Thanks for your piece here and allowing me to respond to it. 🙂

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments Catherine! I know you realize that much of my piece was from a “fallen” catholic who saw the hypocrisy of the church at an early age. Hence the tongue-in-cheek approach. I don’t agree though, about your assessment of Benedict. I believe he was a an ineffective leader who left the church in disarray and without any real direction. In my view, this is how a leader, whether in secular of religious organizations, should be judged. And the minefield of religion, and role of God, is for another day! Thanks.

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