There’s no doubt that our Holy Father’s decision has brought forth a wave of doubts, confusion, mixed emotions, and perhaps sadness as well.
Today, together with an interesting commentary by Fr. Robert Barron on Pope Benedict XVI’s legacy, we would like to offer some 15 keys that can help you to maintain an authentic Catholic approach towards what’s to come.
The Legacy of Pope Benedict XVI
Faith in the Mind
- The Pope has explained the reasons for renouncing his Pontificate in this document. Let’s not be rash in firing off all sorts of personal interpretations and speculation. Conspiracy theories and other shocking intrigue offered by ‘experts’, who are called in by the media to speak about something they don’t really know much about, should be taken for what they are worth–usually not much– and no more.
- John Paul II did not renounce his pontificate, in spite of his failing strength, because he discerned that was not what God was asking of him in that particular moment. Benedict XVI did so, on the other hand, because after examining his conscience before God, he discovered that it was the Lord’s Plan for both him and for the Church. The reason for the Pope’s resignation, beyond his failing strength or his age, is to be found in his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Because of this, no one in the future can call for the Pope’s resignation based on such and such an incapacity. This decision will always be between God and his Vicar.
- The Church is the body of Christ. Christ is her head and it is the Holy Spirit who guides her. Regardless of the Church’s frailty, this truth will always stand firm. God is greater than our sins.
- The Church is the People of God and we are all part of it. Now is not a good moment to judge past decisions or plan new strategies for the future. Now is the time for us to be united in one heart and to look forward to the future with hope and in communion. If you want to change the Church, as Mother Teresa said, start with yourself.
- Reflections on the next Pope are interesting but shouldn’t be given excessive weight. We can have such discussions only in so far as it is clear the most important thing to do is to pray for the Cardinals and trust that the Holy Spirit will guide and continue to bless the Church. It’s important that we give a positive testimony to those who struggle to understand this process.
Faith in the Heart
- The sadness that we may experience at the Holy Father’s decision must not become an obstacle to the joy and hope that must fill our hearts as we turn our eyes towards the new stage upon which the Church will soon embark.
- Within a short time we will have a new Pope at the ship’s prow guiding the Church, and a man of God, with the experience of having exercised the Petrine ministry himself, praying from the stern. Surely that is a wonderful motive for hope!
- The Pope must not be turned into an idol. It is a great blessing when a Pontiff is also a man of God but we mustn’t forget that he is still a human being who is, therefore, both fragile and a sinner. Our obedience and attention to him don’t depend on his human qualities or his moral integrity but on his condition as Christ’s Vicar on Earth.
- Don’t get attached to any one candidate, and don’t let the secular media make you think that if one of them is elected, everything will turn out fine, whereas if another is chosen then everything will go wrong. Firstly, because the Holy Spirit can change your plans. And secondly, because the Holy Spirit has been changing their plans since John XXIII (and even before that).
Faith in Action
- Pray a great deal that the Holy Spirit will enlighten the Cardinal Electors and that they will be docile instruments of his movements. This is the best way of participating in this crucial time for the life of the Church.
- Read the document in which the Pope formally renounces his Pontificate and explain it to whoever asks you about it.
- Pray for this new stage in Benedict XVI’s life.
- Don’t share or tweet dubious information about the Pope, the conclave or the Cardinals. Take advantage, instead, of this time to get to better know the Cardinals and various members of the Church that carry out these positions of authority and service.
- Keep informed through a good Catholic news agency. We recommend CNA (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/), Zenit (http://www.zenit.org) or Aleteia (http://www.aleteia.org).
- Let’s make the most of the fact that Lent is starting and offer our prayer, fasting and almsgiving for our beloved Church.
Pope Benedict XVI Resources
- My Miraculous Healing From Alcoholism: How Bl. Michael McGivney Interceded For MeOn December 30, 2020, I literally lost my mind. Collapsing on my living room floor, I did not have another coherent thought for nine weeks. Although I began drinking when I was young, I eventually became addicted and my drinking spiraled out of control. It overtook my life and wreaked havoc on my family and… Read more: My Miraculous Healing From Alcoholism: How Bl. Michael McGivney Interceded For Me
- What I Wish I Knew About Dating A Non-CatholicThere are Catholics who marry Catholics and who live a wonderful life. There are Catholics who marry Catholics who end up in divorce. There are Catholics who marry non-Catholics who lose their faith. And there are Catholics who marry non-Catholics whose spouses convert and live happily ever after. All this is to say; every situation… Read more: What I Wish I Knew About Dating A Non-Catholic
- This Is Why You Should Pray For Your PriestFor many people, the priest is the one whom people go to for their spiritual needs, for prayer requests, for Mass offerings, and other sacraments. Have you ever wondered how a priest is sustained spiritually for the work they do? Should we be praying for a priest as we pray for other people, like our… Read more: This Is Why You Should Pray For Your Priest
- An Inside Look At What It’s Like To Film A Catholic Movie About A SaintOn one of the last chilly mornings of October, I received a text from a producer friend of mine, telling me that there was a an opportunity to be part of the crew for a film called “Triumph of the Heart.” For someone laying upside down on their bed, sponging fallen nutella off their sweatshirt… Read more: An Inside Look At What It’s Like To Film A Catholic Movie About A Saint
- 400-Year-Old Marian Prophecies About Our AgeIn our age of wars, transgenderism, abortion up till birth in various nations, natural and moral calamities and a host of other seemingly insurmountable problems, sometimes it looks as if the world has gone barking mad. Many of us remember times that were much more tranquil not so long ago. But take heart. Our Lady… Read more: 400-Year-Old Marian Prophecies About Our Age