Pope Benedict’s Heroic Decision
Pope Emeritus Benedict, elected by the cardinals in 2005, resigned his office effective February 28th 2013. And as you will have been informed many times before, dear reader, he was the first pope to tender his resignation in the past six hundred years.
There has been speculation that Benedict had other honourable reasons for wishing to stand down. This may be true, but CFI.co is prepared to take him at his word. Is it so surprising that a man of 86 years of age should take his leave after eight long years doing his duty in such a high profile role? Whatever his motivation may be we believe that Benedict took this action having considered the best interests of the presently troubled Catholic Church. It should, perhaps, not need to be the case, but his resignation was a heroic step.
Although we must be careful not to take the analogy too far, a pope could be considered the CEO of the Catholic Church. This pope was a decisive chief executive who understood the need for change. No individual – however capable – is more important than the organisation they lead. Knowing when to step down and pass the mantle is in some ways the most important decision a leader can take. Pope Benedict had no way of knowing who would succeed him but trusted that the very system that had elected him would decide upon a worthy successor.
“My strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”
Change came in the form of Pope Francis – who is dazzling us daily with his humility and lack of concern for the trappings of high office. There are, of course, those who say that Francis should be accepting the trappings with humility and even that there is some ‘arrogance in his humility’. Whatever the case, we are optimistic: the new pope is a welcome breath of fresh air and we credit Benedict with having paved the way for a new leader.
There have been precious few papal intellects equal to that of Benedict and we believe him to be a true and faithful servant of God. However, he is our Hero not because of these considerations or for any of his past works. Benedict is our Hero for taking a difficult but very important decision. We believe that this year he was right to give the Catholic Church an opportunity for change.