Something big has happened and the world has changed – yesterday was different than the day before. Unless you have been cutoff from all civilization for the last 24 hours, you know by now that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation effective February 28.
We knew that his pontificate would not last forever, even if we always prayed it would last just a little bit longer. We expected, as has been the custom from before the Protestant revolution, that one day we would be told that he has died. A resignation was unexpected.
Sometimes people resign offices in disgrace. Sometimes they resign because their interests change. Pope Benedict has resigned in love for the Church. He is humbly stepping aside so that a man of stronger health will lead us in the challenges ahead. Our beloved Father is passing the Chair of Peter to another while he is able to do so in continuity. This may be our new norm.
What happens next? We pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit over the College of Cardinals. Their dean, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, must call a conclave. Whatever else you had planned to pray for this Lent, include them in your prayers. God willing, we may have a new pope by Easter.
A caution: avoid mass media news reports (including those with Catholic “experts”). They understand little of what is happening and if history is any guide, may predict changes to the beliefs of the Church. Those beliefs, God’s truth, have not changed in 2,000 years, can not change and will not change!