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.