Pope Benedict and his brother-because I think they're the cutest.
I couldn't believe the news this morning. Shocking doesn't really cover it, its hard to be prepared for something that hasn't happened in 400 years. Its uncharted territory not only for our generation, but for the Church in so many ways. Add to all this the fact that I'm a long way from emotionally stable being in a third trimester haze of hormones and I cried for a while before I got the kids up.
Its unbelievably sad to lose such a leader. His work and the legacy of his papacy will be huge. His writings are so valuable to the faith. He's been instrumental in bringing about unity not only in the Christian faith but all faiths. He has guided a Church in crisis through to the other side of a place of renewed and increasing faith. I've been in love with his writing since I started to read him when he was a Cardinal, and he literally has daily breathtaking insights into the Faith and our life with God.
From the shock of the announcement to a deep sadness at losing someone you've come to depend upon even though you didn't know how much. Then to think of his sufferings as being so difficult he must resign his important role makes me feel even worse. I hate to think of him suffering so severely, so silently. And then an anxiety. A general anxiety about our Church and future. But an anxiety that I think speaks more to the dependence on the Church as a structure that I take for granted. We really do go about our lives while so many in our Church devout their lives to prayer and service for the good of all of us. The Pope being at the top of the list.
Its almost impossible to believe we'll have a new Pope by Easter. I remember when Pope John Paul II died and not believing at all that another pope could be a dynamic, faith-filled, or just plain loveable. Thank goodness I was wrong! The Papacy is such a miraculous institution that I'm more than confident we're in good hands for the future, even though we should all be praying like crazy for the upcoming Papal election!
I'm also already tired of the conspiracy theorists and the media. To think that Pope Benedict did not pray intensely about this decision is beyond naive. He is holy and would never be cowed into resignation. I can only imagine his relationship with God, his insight into the Father's will, and it makes me completely sure that this decision is right not only for the Pope himself, but the Church and the will of God. There are so many graces of God at work!
Those are my initial thoughts, to which many others have said it much better! I've spent my whole morning reading and thinking about this crazy news, I should probably start dealing with my mountains of dirty dishes and half-clothed children!
"This mission of Christ, this movement of his continues in space and time, over centuries and continents. It is a movement which starts with the Father and, in the power of the Spirit, goes forth to bring the good news to the poor, in both a material and a spiritual sense. The Church is the first and necessary instrument of this work of Christ because it is united to him as a body to its head."
-Pope Benedict XVI