Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Disappointment of Soul — Part I: The Resignation

October 31st, 2016, Promulgated by Diane Harris

In my desire to finish in one sitting the post on “Disappointment of Soul”, I uploaded the entire post in order to keep the story “together.” But I realize there is a lot of material in that post, so I’m breaking it into three parts, to invite discussion on the individual parts.  However, if someone does want to read it all at once, I am leaving the original post in place:

Several times I have approached the keyboard to write of disappointment.  I have no authority to write anything of specific judgment or condemnation, but only of hope and disappointment and more hope, so I’ll try to color within those lines.

screenshot350I remember February 2013, and the shock and disappointment I experienced when His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, announced his retirement. I wanted to wail “Nooooooo!” And I wondered “Why is he retiring?” Why had Pope Benedict chosen a different path than (now Saint) Pope John Paul II? Was it because he’d seen from the inside how difficult it can be with a leader of the Church wounded through illness? Was it because Pope Benedict is culturally private and reserved and perhaps personally not as apt to live out final days in the public view? Was it because of the wolves, the ones from whom he’d asked us to pray that he would not flee? Or one of a thousand other reasons?

A leader of almost any entity steps down when his health and energy no longer enable him to keep up the pace of office.  But perhaps it is different for popes, as Pope John Paul II was obviously not persuaded by such argument. Moreover, Christ did not come down from the Cross. Pope Benedict’s writings show that he was not in any way impaired in thought or expression by advancing age, and it was through his writings that we know more of his mind, heart and soul than we do of many others who have sat in the Chair of Peter.  His deposit of teaching is awesome, and recent events warn me to collect the rest of his writings I have not read yet, while they are available. It also came to mind that perhaps Pope Benedict saw the onslaught about to come, and believed his most crucial role would be in extended prayer for the Church. So Pope Benedict had a deep clarity in which to make his decision, and that was reassuring. Disappointing, but reassuring.

Is there a Biblical Element to the Papal Change?

Even an abundant field was left fallow for one year out of seven, to regain its strength.  Sometimes doing less can be the most fruitful protection of all.  From the installation of (now Blessed) Pope Paul VI in 1963, to Pope Benedict’s abdication in 2013, fifty years elapsed.  Biblically, the 50 year cycle is important to mark the Jubilee, leaving the land fallow after seven 7-year cycles, but what can it mean in the context of today’s Church?  We can ask, but the answer may not yet be clear.

Leviticus 25: 10-13: “And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his family. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be to you; in it you shall neither sow, nor reap what grows of itself, nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat what it yields out of the field. In this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his property.” 

–To be continued–


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