Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Resignation

This morning the Catholic world, and world in general, was rocked with news that came out of the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI has decided to call it quits, resigning his post as of February 28, 2013.

This surprising announcement, the first time a pope has resigned his since 1415, came about as Benedict has realized his age is acting as a roadblock for him to do his job leading the Catholic Church. This educated, humble man, sees the Church bigger than himself and he knew, in his brave decision, it was time to call it quits.

In the coming days, the Cardinals will meet in Rome to choose a new Pope, and as we speak, the lobbying, both public and behind the scenes has begun. Could we see another European Pope? A Pope from the Southern Hemisphere? Or an American Pope? Whoever the Pope will be, he will likely be supportive of a traditional Catholic Church, similar to John Paul II and Benedict XVI, but must also be a strong leader and articulate voice for the Catholic Church, as well as one who will be able to expand the Church, as John Paul II has done in his 27 years as Pope.

It is for these reasons, as a Catholic and American, I hope the Cardinals give a good look to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, leader of the Archdiocese of New York. In his meteoric rise, Dolan has shown himself to be a strong figure in the Church, can effectively articulate his message to supporters and opponents of the Faith, and a positive leader. Furthermore, in terms of Papal standards, his younger age will see that he is in the Holy See for many years and as a result, there is the potential he will greatly influence the path of the Church and using that articulate nature, bring more to the Church.

As a result of the makeup of the Cardinal electorate (25% Italian, 50% European) and the past history that they don't take well to outside influence, an American Pope may not be likely, nor may a Pope from the Southern Hemisphere. It is an intriguing process that Catholics and other religions alike will be watching.

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