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The humble Pope

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 11, 2016

Three years ago today, Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world by announcing his plan to resign. In a really beautiful piece recalling the former Pontiff, John Allen of Crux says that this was “history’s greatest act of papal humility.” Allen goes on to remark that Benedict “carried a bad narrative into his papacy,” and consequently has not been really understood or appreciated.

To illustrate his point, Allen tells a story about what Pope Benedict XVI did immediately after he was elected. Remember all the glowing news reports about how Pope Francis, following his election, checked himself out of the residence where he had been staying before the conclave? But you probably weren’t aware that Pope Benedict did essentially the same thing.

Allen’s homage to Benedict should be required reading. Don’t miss it.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 12, 2016 1:26 PM ET USA

    It appears that these ugly times have beautifully shaped the men who have become Pope. We will never know how much Holy Father Benedict did for the Church spiritually by enduring the barbs flung at him for so many years. We may find that it dwarfs his wonderful contributions to liturgical reform, for which I can never repay him.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Feb. 11, 2016 5:14 PM ET USA

    This humility thing is really a canard. St. Pius X demonstrated tremendous humility, and in so doing, he embraced the sedia gestatoria, papal tiara and all the rest. He had begged to be removed from consideration; once elected he surrendered himself to the office he felt unworthy to fill. He became Christ's vicar. And he did so with vigor, and with saintly humility- "to restore all things in Christ." It's not about a man who is pope; rather it's about the pope who is a man of God.