I haven’t written much, if anything, about Pope Benedict’s retirement. I think it’s a decision only he can make; with my retirement happening on the day after his, I think I understand his motives. I know how hard it is to be an accountant at a small company at 66, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be the Pope at 86. And, Benedict is looking increasingly frail and, sadly, seems to be aging very quickly. He may feel he could go on, but for reasons both personal and professional he may question whether he should go on. I understand him thinking he shouldn’t.
Too, much of what has been written in the last two or three weeks strikes me as nothing more than idle speculation, sinking at times to the level of just plain gossip. There are people who presume to speak with great authority about what will happen when Benedict leaves, how do they know that, any more than the rest of us? It’s nincompoopery! Who needs it?
I simply have the feeling that, at this time in particular, the Holy Spirit is actively guiding the Church and will guide the Conclave. I have an inkling that the next pope may not be any of the Cardinals whose names have been prominently mentioned by so-called experts as likely successors; I think the one chosen may be from way out in left field, and will be the best choice for just that reason. But, I don’t care, and I’m willing to wait to see how matters play out and to rejoice when the next pontiff is finally named. There’s nothing else to do.
Pray for Benedict XVI as he leaves office, pray for the work of the Conclave, and pray for the new pope, whoever that might be.