The Church? She will go on. Let us do so as well.

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict is resigning. Not the end of the world, nor the end of the Church.

If you find yourself saddened by this news remember: the Church is the bride of Jesus Christ, not the product of human enterprise. The Pope is Christ’s vicar, not successor. The pope is a caretaker and steward, not lord. Continue to love the Church and not any one man. Trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit—that same Holy Spirit who gave us Karol Wojtyla and Joseph Ratzinger. And especially pray for the cardinal-electors who just started burning up the red phone lines. They are who the Holy Spirit shall work through, pray that they are sensitive to the authentic promptings of the Spirit.

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

If, on the other hand, you find yourself happy with this news because you think “finally, we’ll get a pope who will allow contraception, women priests and [all manner of silliness] to prevail,” prepare yourself for continued frustration. The Church is the creation of God, not to be remade in our own image and likeness. She does not approve these things because they are un-approvable.

The Church is who she is because of Jesus Christ and not because of any individual man. All we weak human persons can contribute is more difficulty through our sinfulness—but even when we screw up, God is capable of bringing great good out of it.

We will hear all manner of silliness and bad advice from many corners about what sort of man (heh… or woman…) the Church ought to elect to show that she is still “relevant.” An actively and activist homosexual man. A non-Catholic. A man who isn’t so hung up on this or that doctrine.


That’s like impetuous teens telling their stodgy conservative parents to “get with the times and live a little” in licentious, irresponsible, indulge-your-appetites behavior … except it falls short of the relationship between the Church and the world by orders of magnitude.

Those who would try to remake the Church do not understand her. Pope Benedict’s resignation, though an epochal event in world history, will not rock the Church, but merely confirms the primacy and solidity of the Church over the ever-changing times.



  • Greg Smith

    Dear all~

    Popes are human and after a lifetime of service to God and man they ought not
    to be compelled by custom or politics to hold office until death. Hopefully
    Benedict is setting a precedent that will allow his successors to retire when
    the time comes

    After John Paul II, popes are expected to travel widely and frequently,
    something that is hard for really elderly men to do. We may be better off with
    younger popes.

    I wonder if after the last two popes the cardinals will continue to elect non
    Italians, maybe even non-Europeans. Is Cardinal Dolan a possibility?

    Let’s pray that Benedict enjoys his retirement and let the handicapping begin,

    Pax vosbiscum ~ Greg .

    • abadilla

      “Popes are human…” Thank you for sharing. I’m sure we are all so idiotic, we didn’t know that!

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  • tranxtian

    I hope the next Pope helps to unite our church instead of trying to divide us. I do wish Ratzinger good health for the rest of his journey on earth.

    • Msgr. Charles M. Mangan

      J.M.J. Your first sentence is nonsensical. Your second is rather noble, though you could refer to His Holiness properly.

      • tranxtian

        I did.

        • Paul Sadek

          Sorry, no. Your reference to him by his family name only, and then insisting that it was proper, belies a lack of respect, no less than if one were to refer to Msgr. Mangan as simply “Mangan” (apologies, Monsignor).

          • Msgr. Charles M. Mangan

            J.M.J. Thank you, Paul!

          • tranxtian

            Do you understand those are their names?

          • Msgr. Charles M. Mangan

            J.M.J. What is His full Name?

          • abadilla

            It would be nice if you also call Him Our Lord, the Savior, Christ. That would show a bit more respect on your part for the Man who will one day judge the living and the dead!

          • Tom Crowe

            Oh, so you call him “Jesus bar Joseph” every time to refer to Him? Or did you think his “full name” is “Jesus Christ”? … so what were you saying again?

          • Greg Smith

            Hi Tom ~ Wouldn’t it be “Jesus ben Joseph?” ~ Greg

        • abadilla

          We Catholics call him “His Holiness,” bishops “your excellency” and Cardinals, “your eminence,” but be that as it may, you can’t hide your true feeling for H.H. Benedict XVI. Tranxtian, sooner or later you and I will be dead and six feet under and no one will remember who we were, but history will always record the fact that his eminence Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI.

    • abadilla

      “I hope the next Pope helps to unite our church instead of trying to divide us.”
      Your comment could not be more disgusting and uncalled for at a time when many of us are sad at his resignation. I got news for you, what divides people is NOT this Pope but the teachings of Christ because St. Simeon once told the Blessed Virgin Mary, He [Jesus] would be a sign of contradiction. Shame on you!

    • Tom Crowe

      Yes, I too hope that the next pope is as unifying and conciliatory a figure as Pope Benedict has been.

  • David

    Could you wait at least 12 hours to write an article like this? Even just 6? Let people grieve a little bit. The Pope is the our Holy Father. That’s a real relationship with a real person and these things are not just interchangeable parts, like your blog implies. Come Holy Spirit.

    • downtowner

      Grieve? What exactly is so sad about his resignation? The Pope IS interchangeable and has been since the very beginning of the church, otherwise we would not have multiple Popes.

      • abadilla

        Yes, many of us grieve precisely because we love this Pope. Is there anything wrong with that?

    • abadilla

      “Let people grieve a little bit.” I understand what you are saying because I’m still stunned at the news and I feel very, very sad for his resignation, but a Catholic website could not wait while the rest of the media is at it. Have you seen the news media lately? They can’t stop talking about it and the speculation is on full force regarding his possible successor.

    • Tom Crowe

      David— Apologies. I, too, am stunned and not just a little off-put by the announcement. But part of grieving is coming to terms with the reasons we can and must go on. Perhaps I move on to those more quickly than others. Especially with regards the Church, I think it vitally important to avoid any attachment to any one person in any position of authority, remembering that the Church and the the Church’s Lord are all that are of essential importance—everything else can and will be taken care of by the Lord in His time, in His way.



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