Learning this morning that Pope Benedict is stepping down, the first to do so in nearly 600 years, made my heart heavy. I really loved this Pope, and I wish that I had had the time to know him more. I was a little too young to know JPII, but Benedict was MY Pope.
Reactions so far have been somewhat uncharitable. The man is very old, and he stood by JPII for years as that great man’s health deteriorated. He must know some of the dangers, sorrows, and difficulties of becoming incapacitated while still Pope.
I was in Toronto for World Youth Day in 2002. That was still three years before JPII’s death, but even then he was suffering tremendously and his health was very low. It was hard to understand him when he spoke. Perhaps Pope Benedict knows better than us all what it means to deteriorate while Bishop of Rome. Though saddened, I am ready to understand and trust that he does this not out of selfishness, as some have suggested, but knowing what is best for the Church.
God watch and keep him.