I am going to miss Papa Ben. I am going to miss his gentle pastoral care for us, his brilliant scholarship, and his tireless work for Christian unity.
Like St. Pietro da Morrone before him, he pricked the conscience of the College of Cardinals immediately before his election, and like Pope Celestine V, he is resigning because he can tell that the demands of the Petrine Ministry are beyond the graces God now gives him. And I think that like St. Pietro da Morrone, he will be canonized as a saint. I saw the parallel from the very beginning of Papa Ben's papacy. Scott Hahn had more on that; I think Frank Weathers has some really cool expansions on what Hahn had to say. He quotes Hahn's facebook post in its entirety, without getting bogged down in the anti-Catholicism that overwhelmed Hahn's post.
Two bloggers have separately suggested that Papa Ben is motivated to resign in part because he wishes to prevent the Vatican bureaucracy from taking advantage of his infirmity to act against the Spirit as a sort of Papal Regent. I think such speculation smells of detraction, which is why I'm not linking to it. To all who fret, St. Padre Pio's advice to "Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer," is sound.
This election is going to be different. When's the last time that a conclave had warning that it would be convened? The politicking that no doubt has already started is going to be intense.
While I don't expect it, I think it would be totally awesome for either Cdl Dolan or Cdl Burke to get the See of Rome. Regardless of whom the College of Cardinals selects, the Holy Spirit is in charge and so I expect a saintly man. Where evil abounds, grace also, and evil has surely abounded in Christendom for well over a century now. Far too many have been slain for me to ever think otherwise.
addenda: Fr. Z of What Does the Prayer Really Say writes:
- Some notes about the upcoming conclave, which is also about how the Vatican runs sede vacante.
- A post about the private revelation to St. Malachy. I'm going to reiterate what St. Padre Pio said: "Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer."
- Fr. Dwight Longenecker has more on the prophecy of St. Malachy -- hint: it's a 15th century forgery.