Most Catholics around the world are giving thanks to God for a new pope. A few of us are already pontificating about the future. This is my own little reflection on the relationship between the pontificates of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
I believe that in order to fully appreciate the events of the last month or so, one must consider that we have a new Holy Father because, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Pope Benedict carefully formulated a plan. The evidence shows that he did not just wake up one morning and say: “I have had it. I just can’t do it anymore.” The historical facts indicate that he was considering a potential abdication through most of his pontificate. I think it is also fair to say that he was aware of all the potential outcomes. The man, before anything else is a thinker. I don’t believe he was surprised by any of the reactions or criticisms. He had prayed for a long time and had thought the whole thing through. When he made his decision he was definitive. Continue reading