Originally posted on Joshua Ryan Ziefle:
“However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.”
-Pope Benedict XVI
As you’ve no doubt heard, Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation, effective at the end of this month. This marks him as the first pope in modern times to step away from the See of St. Peter. Indeed, the first one to do so since the end of the great Western Schism in the 1400s. It is a historic moment for the Catholic Church and, as always at these times, an opportunity for it to define itself anew with its choice of leadership. A great deal of electronic ink will be spilled in the next few weeks over the potential candidates to replace Joseph Ratzinger. A return to an Italian Pope? An American? An African or Asian? What about someone young and in the prime of their life? A theological conservative or someone more progressive? The intrigue will be intense.