Pope Benedict XVI has announced his impending resignation, citing health concerns and his belief that a modern pope must possess both strength of mind and body to be able to carry out his mission. This reason seems inadequate. Since it is certain that God will provide sufficient strength to carry out whatever mission He appoints His servants to, how is this resignation not an instance of faithlessness?
“Since it is certain that God will provide sufficient strength to carry out whatever mission He appoints his servant to,” says who? You? Actually, God calls all of His servants home eventually. Most often it is through illness, as it is in the case with Pope Benedict. It was certainly the case with Pope John Paul II. Even he seriously considered retiring before He died, but his health declined so quickly that retirement wasn’t necessary. Pope Benedict was an elderly man when he generously accepted election as pope and has followed a schedule that many younger people would not have been able to keep. Stamina he has come to lack, but not faith.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.