Anyone who wonders why he would do this, who wonders why he, who lives in relative luxury, would be "tired", has only to look at the extreme reactions to this news, from so many, to get a taste of what it is like to be in charge of the Church.
FearOne reaction is from those on the (for lack of a better term) far "right" of the Catholic Church--those seen, by some, as being "more Catholic than the Pope." Some circles are abuzz with the so-called Prophesy of St. Malachi--supposedly predicting exactly how many popes the church will have--and, as a result, (I assume), the end of the world. Jesus said "You will know neither the day nor the hour." This kind of whipping up of unapproved prophetic frenzy does no good to anyone and makes some quite uneasy.
Another corner of uneasiness is coming from some who see Pope Benedict as "their pope" and who feel "abandoned" by his resignation. He is not dead. He is alive and will continue to serve the Church through prayer. Jesus also said, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against (the Church)." As St. Padre Pio said, "Pray, hope and don't worry."
Also, it is never a spiritually healthy idea to hang one's entire faith (or any of it, really) on a human being. Priests, cardinals and the Pope himself are human beings. Guided by God, yes--we pray that is the case. But, to feel adrift when a spiritual leader goes away, or dies, or is caught up in a scandal of some sort, is to put one's faith a human being.
Our faith is based on a person--the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity--Jesus Christ. He is the only person we should have complete faith in.
AngerOn the other extreme, we have people (many of whom are current or former Catholics) who bitterly rail against anything having to do with the Catholic Church, or any of her leaders. They insist on posting every, (often misleading or incomplete) article about the latest Catholic scandal, and, in this case, have taken the latest news as an opportunity to post about their dislike of the current Holy Father.
I will never understand why this is considered ok to do. The way I was raised, it is not something done in polite company. If I am at a cocktail party, and the host is a practicing Catholic, I would never think of ranting against the leader of the Catholic Church in her home. I think the same holds true in cyber space, personally.
Tolerance of others is a value that many in this group hold dear. The exception seems to be Catholic Christianity. It must be ultra-modern, or face their public wrath.
Also, holding on to hatred and malice is not a healthy thing. Those, especially those in Church leadership positions, who, as I said before, are human beings, desperately need our *prayers*. If there is someone in particular who we happen to think has lead the Church down the wrong path, that person needs our prayers and not our hatred.
JusticeI admit it is sometimes a difficult line to draw. There are those in the Church who have made very grave mistakes and who have not seen justice done to their victims. We need to continue to speak out against any illegal and immoral things that have been done and to work for justice.
But, because a Church leader does not happen to share your political views? Not a reason for so much anger, in my opinion.
TrustThis is an exciting time to be a Catholic. We believe that the Holy Spirit is necessarily at work in every conclave called to elect a pope. The world *is* changing, and there *are* many things about the Church that *can* change.
I look forward to seeing what will happen.
Come, Holy Spirit!