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Perceptive Commentary: On the resignation—Bernardo Cervellera, John O'Sullivan, Michael Kelly

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 14, 2013

Among the scores of editorial commentaries that have appeared since Pope Benedict announced his plans to resign, a handful have been particular insightful. Among the best:

  • ”Benedict XVI’s decision for the Church's mission and the truth of the world.” Father Bernardo Cervellera of the AsiaNews service sees the Pope’s bold decision as a product of great faith. Having prayed intensely over the decision, the Holy Father has concluded that this is God’s will, and nothing else matters. The Pope’s resignation, then, illustrated in one dramatic action the attitude that he would recommend to the faithful at his public audience on Ash Wednesday. Father Cervellera writes:
    In taking this step, he has become a master for all Christians, priests, bishops, cardinals, who consider their active role in certain tasks, duties and organizations "essential". With his choice of life Pope Benedict XVI is telling us that the effectiveness of our existence lies in our placing ourseleves completely in Christ's hands, the true guarantee of all fruitfulness.
  • ”Benedict’s reformation.” John O’Sullivan (who was my boss many years ago) writes in The Spectator that the Pope’s decision to resign shows that he has placed the evangelical demands of the Church ahead of the political pressures of the papacy. O’Sullivan suggests that “his resignation is the latest (perhaps the final) stage in the papacy’s two-century shedding of temporal power and its trappings of spiritual monarchy.”
  • ”Confounding critics to the end.” Michael Kelly of the Irish Catholic believes that Pope Benedict has become exhausted after years of fighting a largely successful battle against heavy odds, and with precious little help from his staff. Reflecting on the clumsiness and inertia displayed by the Roman Curia during this pontificate, Kelly concludes: “Benedict has been spectacularly badly served by those who should have been aiding him in the governance of the Church.”

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  • Posted by: fredsfo21015 - Feb. 15, 2013 9:29 PM ET USA

    "Confounding critics to the end," by Michael Kelly of the Irish Catholic makes more sense than almost any other explanation of the Pope's decision. At least it does to me. Let us hope that whomever succeeds Pope BXVI will listen to the Holy Spirit. This is God's Church.

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