Monday, February 11, 2013
Most Popes reign for 1-5 years
Most Popes reign for 1-5 years, so eight years is perhaps no too short a reign. For a Pope who values continuity living in a Vatican granny-flat might ensure that Pope Benedict's successor continues much what has been done. I rather like the idea of Pope Callistus or Leo popping round for tea and buns and a little advice with his predecessor.
I think that occasionally Pope Benedict uses the idea of "stampede", to get things going, he did this with Summorum Pontificum, and Regensburg speech, this is his last stampede.
There are things that are impossible for a Pope in his eighties to do, like reforming the Vatican, which presumably any future Conclave will see as a priority, and which will mandate our next Pope to carry out.
Some of the things he set in place that are not going to be changed but need another hand to move them forward, such directing ecumenism towards the East, seeing Vatican II in terms of continuity, recognising the need to reconcile the Church's present with its past, both Liturgically anf theologically.
Pope Benedict has appointed most of the Cardinals in the Conclave, he has appointed all the leading members of the Curia, and he himself will be alive, so continuity is to some extant guaranteed.
What hasn't happened in this Papacy, is the factionalising and jockeying for position which was such a feature of John Paul's dying years, when the See of Peter was effectively vacant for years, the remnants of which have blighted the reign of Pope Benedict and manifested themselves in "Vatileaks".
So, apart from my initial shock, I think this a wise move by a wise Pope.
As my old aunt used to say, "Knowing when and how to leave is the sign of a gentleman"..
Posted by Fr Ray Blake