An interview was published on the Internet this week with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in which he recognized and manifested that he was “on his way home.” He seemed somewhat deteriorated, with difficulties to walk. In a word, walking on that path on which one day we will all have to go, with hope and especially confidence in the Resurrection.
However, in the course of these years, have we been aware of the role that Benedict fulfilled in our beloved pilgrim Church on earth?
At the end of this month is yet another anniversary of his renunciation of the papacy, something that leaves us several messages.
He was elected Pope in 2005, and as is said colloquially, he was coming with the wind against him. How to be Bishop of Rome after almost 27 years of John Paul II and his enormous legacy?
However, “the humble servant in the Lord’s vineyard,” as he himself announced in that Conclave, took the post and accepted the Lord’s calling. But far from being a Pope of transition as some now call him, he faced an arduous task. He was burdened with the principal and saddest scandals of pedophilia and sexual abuse on the part of priests and the crisis of the lack of vocations. He reaffirmed the inter-religious dialogue with Christian and non-Christian religions. He spoke to us of the love of God and of hope in his two encyclicals, and wrote brilliant theology books.
He put the house in order and when, because of his advanced age, some health issues, and full realization that he could not go on, he renounced his office, thus personifying again the Apostle Saint Peter that, as the history of salvation shows us, was the most manly Apostle of all. And with his renunciation, he gave us Francis.
How many are able to renounce, to retire well in this world of power?
However, his life was already marked by renunciations. He gave up being a husband, a father and a grandfather to consecrate himself to Christ. He renounced a peaceful old age, possibly in his native Germany, dedicated to his other passions: the piano and reading, to steer Christ’s boat in one of the most complex and turbulent moments.
Now, recollected in prayer and silence, he reminds us of John the Baptist’s words: “It’s better that He increase and I decrease,” all the more if that “he” is united to the new Pontiff or to Christ whom he always served.
We must pray for Benedict XVI, for all that he did and continues doing for us. Pray that the Lord will accompany him on his return home.
Thank you, Pope Benedict XVI, you continue being Peter!
Maldonado-Rocha Diocese of Uruguay