Whilst I’m a pagan, I like to think I have a level of ‘plays well with others’ in my attitude to other belief systems. Which is why I feel the need to offer an opinion on the latest Vatican news; Pope Benedict is resigning on Feb 28th, with a new Pope to be elected before Easter (March 31st). It’s a shock decision and a historic one.
I have to give His Holiness points for recognising that he can’t cope with the demands of the job due to his age and that he’s got the courage to make his choice to resign. There’s a lot of history and expectation riding on the role, as well as an inordinate amount of power and to walk away from it rather than let yourself be seen to fall into shaking decrepitude on an international stage takes guts.
When will they consider electing a younger person to the role?! The job is “for life”, but if you continually elect men that are super-annuitant age already, there’s too many attitudes set in stone, health concerns that already exist and their capacity for coping with the stresses of the job are diminished.
It was sad and pitiful to watch John Paul II literally dying before our eyes in the last years of his tenure, and to my mind, ineffably cruel. Perhaps this resignation is a chance for the Catholic Church to reassess it’s protocols and move with the times. Yes, keep the actual voting process etc – its followers need their sacred rituals too – but in the spirit of moving forward and looking ahead that’s required to survive in the modern business world (and let’s be frank, the Papacy is as much a business CEO as it is a figurehead role) consider someone younger. Better able to handle the stresses, the necessity for dialogue and possible compromise. And someone who is willing to seriously tackle the most distressing issues that exist within the organisation.
Good luck to the new Pope, and a peaceful retirement for Benedict.