February 12, 2013
more thoughts on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI
I very much appreciate all of the comments from my colleagues on MOJ about the resignation of Pope Benedict. I was just re-reading some of Benedict's early speeches as Pope. In those speeches from April and May 2005, he frequently notes his own frailities and inadequacies. He makes it clear that his vision was not to promote his own views. In an address to the clergy of Rome, he stated: "we are not sent to proclaim ourselves or our personal opinions, but the mystery of Christ and, in him, the measure of true humanism."
Discussing Benedict's legacy, while entirely to be expected, fails to understand that he viewed his role as proclaiming Christ. As John Breen noted, this was perhaps most effectively done in his homilies. One reads Benedict's homilies and it is easy to forget their author. This was precisely the point. As a teacher (and we would do well to follow this example in our own teaching), Benedict disappears and what shines forth is the Gospel and Jesus Christ.
His humble resignation reinforces the same point, as others have noted.
Benedict's success seems to have been, in the face of an increasingly secular world, to propose the Gospel with simplicity and depth.
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