I just read the last speech of Pope Benedict. I’m what you’d call a lapsed Catholic, and so it felt kind of odd reading about a “lapsed Pope”. The whole thing is odd isn’t it? To see him being whisked away from the Vatican to go to where he’ll be living from now on, that was strange. It was like sending off a former President.
His speech was a mix of personal thanks and he also included a reminder about the Petrine mission, or about being Pope. He said he sometimes felt like he was in the “barque” or ship as the wind was tossing and turning the little vessel, he knew that Jesus was not asleep, he was present. He talked about feeling the presence of God daily, and yet, he also talked about understanding how it felt to feel at a loss.
He gave thanks for the gift of Faith. He gave his audience a prayer of thanks to God. And then he said he wished the Cardinals well and he expected that he’d be a servant of God, even if his role was not at the “front of the house”. He’s not going to tour and travel. He’s going to pray and study.
He talked about the Church and it’s unique nature. The people that sent him messages and letters talked to him as brothers and sisters, or as children. He said that the Church was a family.
What does a family do when the head of the family leaves or withdraws? I guess we’d all try to take care of one another. I think we’d like to imagine we all would behave at our best while waiting for someone else to take up the mantle of leadership. I think we’d wait abidingly.
For those of my readers who are saddened by today’s events, I offer you my gentle encouragement. Make Pope Benedict proud…Have Faith.