Response to the Pope’s Resignation
by Kelly Ann
Yesterday morning, I think my jaw dropped when I heard that Pope Benedict had submitted his resignation.
After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.
I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.
However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to steer the ship of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.
My immediate response was “good for him.” I have tremendous respect that he was and is willing to recognize his limitations. And that in so doing, while there has been precedent for papal resignation, that he defied 600 years of tradition and was willing to potentially disappoint 1.2 billion Catholics.
My secondary response was the question of whether or not a LDS church president would ever do likewise. Our church shares the tradition of life-long callings and has had a number of ailing presidents – notably Kimball, Benson, and now possibly (rumored) Monson. I would have an equal respect if the Prophet was ever to do likewise.
I am curious to know how other people here responded (although in googling for this post, I did come across some reactions at By Common Consent).
What do you think of the Pope’s resignation?
Do you think it is fair to make a comparison between the Pope and the President of the Church?
Do you think the President of our church would ever resign?
If so, how do you think it would be perceived in light of the papal announcement?
Do you think there could be a particularly negative response given he would be following another tradition?
And more generally, how do you think the church would respond if there were any changes to our succession in leadership.
I am left thinking about how if President Monson resigned or died, that although we say that any of the twelve could be come Prophet, that given our history, it is assumed that the senior member would become President. Because I’ll be honest – I don’t like the idea of Boyd K. Packer as Prophet … For that reason, it makes me cringe a little to think about Monson resigning or dying. I would like to believe that in terms of succession, that some type of revelation will be waiting for us the next round. And that as a church, we would positively respond to it. But I am not so sure about that.
The other thing that intrigues me about the news reports about Pope Benedict is that titles of follow up articles tend to focus on people’s shock and disbelief and grief … And while people are expected to drop their jaws, I also really hope that this is just the media exaggerating and that Catholics will embrace this change. I’ll admit that I am really curious to see who is chosen to be the next Pope. It would be awesome if he was international.
I do believe that whether indirectly or directly that the way other church’s work does impact ours – at least for the correlary perception of members.