In case you weren’t raised Catholic, let me tell you that when Pope Benedict XVI announced earlier today that he would be resigning the papacy effective February 28, it was a big deal. A pope hasn’t resigned in over 600 years. Popes are encouraged to hold the position until their death to avoid the divided loyalties that may arise when you have a pope and an ex-pope alive at the same time.
Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori told the Baltimore Sun he was surprised to hear of Benedict’s resignation, but recalled “times when the pope had said publicly that if he ever reached the point when he felt he didn’t have the stamina for the job, he would resign.”
Lori declined to speculate on who might be poised to assume the papacy, but said, “Whomever they elect must be a faithful, loving teacher.” Let’s hope he can do more to heal rifts between Christians and those of other faiths than Benedict has.
For more from Archbishop Lori, read the article in the Sun.