Reporters are obsessed with the idea of the Pope resigning. And the situation isn’t helped by all the canon lawyers, theologians, and even bishops and cardinals who are speculating about it.
The funny thing is that most of them take the tack of “what is the Pope becomes mentally incapacitated?” Except, by all accounts, Pope John Paul is as mentally fit as he was 30 years ago. It is his body that is holding him back. It’s almost like wishful thinking and it’s an effort to find excuses for why the Pope should retire. The canon lawyer quoted here says that some pope should retire at 75, “expressing humility,” and set a precedent for his successors. I bet that if the Pope more closely adhered to his ideological leanings, he wouldn’t be so quick to see him replaced.
What’s so horrible about letting a pope remain in office? Have we so immersed ourselves in the idea of the Church as government that we think the Church can’t function if we don’t have someone issuing new “laws and regulations?” Is not the witness of the Pope’s life itself a lesson in humility, grace, compassion, self-donation, and more? For many, the only useful life is one in which the person does something, creates, makes, produces. That is not a Christian understanding. It is utilitarian and consumerist.