The inevitable papal abdication conspiracy theory from the indefatigable Christopher Ferrara deserves to be quoted at length:
Consider: Benedict might have been wrestling with the propriety of raising John Paul to the altars of the universal Church and declaring Paul VI a beatus, thus placing his papal imprimatur on what he himself, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, described as a post-conciliar “process of decay”—a process only Pope Benedict has done anything to reverse since the Council. Yet, Benedict was also under tremendous pressure from “conciliarist” forces to perform both acts in order to shore up the collapsing credibility of the conciliar aggiornamento. At this very moment, the trickle of traditionalist critiques is becoming a torrent of criticism by respectable theologians of the mainstream, as the “spirit” of the Council wanes while its disastrous effects become too obvious to explain away any longer. (See, for example, the posthumously revealed commentary by the eminent non-traditionalist theologian Fr. Divo Barsotti, whose diary records this damning assessment: “I am perplexed with regard to the Council: the plethora of documents, their length, often their language, these frightened me. They are documents that bear witness to a purely human assurance more than to a simple firmness of faith.”)
Thus, we can surmise that Benedict faced a dilemma: If he simply refused to exercise the papal primacy to canonize the Council, he would be met with a storm of outrage from conciliarist militants. But if he yielded to pressure and proceeded with those acts, he would have to answer to his own conscience and ultimately to the Judge of us all. Fearing that he would be unable to resist the pressure to perform the ceremonies demanded and already arranged, awaiting only his approving act, he might have concluded that his best course of action was to jump off the steamroller before it could reach its destination. It stands to reason that if Benedict were at all committed to the idea of “Saint John Paul II the Great” and “Blessed Paul VI,” he would have remained in office at least long enough to perform the necessary papal acts. Yet he has left office, in a purely discretionary manner, just as those acts were slated to occur—during the ironically designated “Year of Faith” that is taking place in the midst of the “silent apostasy” that is our inheritance from the previous two pontificates. . .
Benedict’s statement does cite his awareness of his own declining mental and physical state, but these are only the normal consequences of aging. If the italicized sentences are read carefully in context, however, they provide key indications of why the Pope has abdicated in the circumstances peculiar to his pontificate. While still physically and mentally sound, he feels himself too weak of mind as well as body to confront “questions of deep relevance for the life of faith” and “to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel. . .”
Here we confront what I believe the Pope must know but we do not: that something wicked this way comes. Has Pope Benedict been driven from office by the wolves he feared when his Pontificate began? Recall his momentous words in the sermon during the Mass for what the conciliar neo-modernists refuse to call his coronation, but rather an “inauguration,” as if the Pope were a mere elected official: “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves’ . . .
Whatever the Pope sees coming must be the motive for his abdication, unless we are willing to conclude that he simply wearied of his office and decided in his weakness to abandon it. No, there must be more. I echo the sentiments of the Editor in concluding that Pope Benedict has sacrificed himself to the wolves, lying down in front of them while they sniff the corpse of his pontificate in puzzlement, surprised by their ultimately easy prey, and momentarily distracted from what may already have been put in motion respecting the next conclave.
Notice the contradiction:
While still physically and mentally sound, he feels himself too weak of mind as well as body to confront . . .
No, we can’t just accept what the pope said at face value. We have to parse each phrase and paste them together with a contrived commentary so that the Holy Father’s words support the traditionalist house of cards. Ferrara conveniently fails to mention that the Holy Father has said several times that he would consider abdicating if he felt himself no longer up to the task, and that he also expressed his belief that in the right circumstances a pope might be morally obliged to abdicate. But no, Christopher Ferrara has to keep the faithful traditionalists cringing in fear.
Here we confront what I believe the Pope must know but we do not: that something wicked this way comes. . .
Whatever the Pope sees coming must be the motive for his abdication, unless we are willing to conclude that he simply wearied of his office and decided in his weakness to abandon it. No, there must be more.
Paranoia is so predictable.