For those of us not Roman Catholics, the Roman Church can be fascinating, if a little foreign. For believing Catholics, who conflate Christianity with the Roman Church, the recent announcement of retirement by Pope Benedict must seem like the end of the world as they have known it.
Here is a first-rate article, translated from German, on the events inside the Holy, Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The pope from Bavaria has given up. Nevertheless, when he announced his resignation last Monday, hastily and almost casually mumbling the words as if he were saying a rosary, as if he were returning the keys to a rental car rather than the keys to St. Peter, there was still a sense of how deeply his move has shaken the Catholic empire.
Archbishop of Berlin Rainer Maria Woelki calls it a “demystification of the papal office.” Already, he says, the pope’s resignation has changed the church.
I wish the Roman Catholic church nothing but well; it is a bastion against a thousand foolish doctrines.
Protestant churches may come and go and the world will carry on without them, because they are self-organizing, and self-generating and by their own inner lights they do not need to be world-embracing institutions, but a catholic church pretends to embrace all of humanity, not just a nation, race or social class, in one institution. If it fails in its mission, the world stands ready to tear it apart, even as it tears itself apart. It has happened before, and recovered. Whether it will do so again, I would prefer not to see.
Deborah Gyapong blogs on this subject here and David Warren blogs here. I do not profess to understand or equal their faith, but I admire the lucidity of their commitment to Christ as they conceive Him.