Throughout the wall-to-wall coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's abdication one article stood out for me. The article is by Fr. George Rutler, whose writings are always worth my time: "Benedict’s Decision in the Light of Eternity." Among the many insights Fr. Rutler shares is this:
The personality cults of our present age had to a degree shaped the young in the Church who had only known one pope. A most attractive charism of Benedict XVI has been his desire to vanish so that the faithful might see only Christ: “cupio dissolvi.” He strengthened the papacy by vaulting sanctity over celebrity. In a grand paradox, nothing in him has become so conspicuous as his desire to disappear. Christ gave the Keys to a Galilean fisherman with a limited life span. He chose Peter; Peter did not choose Him. When the pope relinquishes the Petrine authority, he does not submit a letter of resignation to any individual, for the only one capable of receiving it is Christ. This is why “renunciation” or “abdication” is a more accurate term than “resignation” in the case of the Supreme Pontiff. Unless this is understood, the danger is that a superficial world will try to refashion the pope into some hind of amiable but transient office holder.
Since I am a deacon and the title of my blog is Catholic Deacon, I would be remiss not to note the passing of Deacon Bill Steltmeier. Some readers may recognize Deacon Bill from his many appearances on EWTN. He was instrumental in helping Mother Angelica establish that global Catholic network. The National Catholic Register has a nice article on the life and many contributions of this faithful servant. For any deacon engaged in social media, it is safe to say Deacon Bill led the way. Requiescat in pace.