Thinking Anglicans

Pope Benedict XVI to resign

It was announced from the Vatican this morning that Pope Benedict XVI is to resign with effect from 28 February.

Press reaction has been swift. The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in a press release, has responded:

In his visit to the UK, Pope Benedict showed us all something of what the vocation of the See of Rome can mean in practice — a witness to the universal scope of the gospel and a messenger of hope at a time when Christian faith is being called into question.

In his visit to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict showed us all something of what the vocation of the See of Rome can mean in practice – a witness to the universal scope of the gospel and a messenger of hope at a time when Christian faith is being called into question. In his teaching and writing he has brought a remarkable and creative theological mind to bear on the issues of the day. We who belong to other Christian families gladly acknowledge the importance of this witness and join with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in thanking God for the inspiration and challenge of Pope Benedict’s ministry.

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, writes

… the Christian world will miss a great theologian with great spiritual depth.

We should remember Pope Benedict communicated the revelation of God in a characteristic way as a true successor of St Peter. He was unafraid to proclaim the Gospel and challenge a culture that is so self-referential, managing to lift our eyes to God’s glory.

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Deacon Charlie Perrin
Deacon Charlie Perrin
7 years ago

Just like Peter and our Lord he has been a great champion of the status quo.

Concerned Anglican
Concerned Anglican
7 years ago

Is this the beginning of the end for an elected monarchy which has reigned for hundreds of years?

Probably yes to the above question, because it sets a precedent that will be difficult to ignore in future. It could then in the long run do for the Roman Catholic Church what Benedict XVI would abhor, liberalise it.

Randall Davidson was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to ‘retire’ in 1928 … where the C of E leads, Rome follows.

Fr John E. Harris-White
Fr John E. Harris-White
7 years ago

One may have disagreed with his conservatism, but one cannot but admire his deep spirituality, and scholarship.
A reaction to the libertine era of the 70’s and 80′ and the consequences thereoff.

May he be allowed a time of tranquility, and spititual peace.

Chris H.
Chris H.
7 years ago

Where the CoE leads… into irrelevance and obscurity in the secular world with a bunch of empty buildings and horrible infighting amongst the few members it has? How would the CoE actually be doing if it weren’t the “official” church? Even Richard Dawkins has said he’s a “Cultural Anglican”, whatever that means. Are liberal churches bursting at the seams? I don’t really see Christians wishing this on other Christians. Atheists, Muslims, etc. wishing it maybe. At least Benedict was honest enough to admit he can’t do the job anymore; I sometimes wondered how much Pope John was doing and how… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
7 years ago

“Just like Peter and our Lord he has been a great champion of the status quo.”

Is this that English sarcasm/irony that we Americans don’t always get? Jesus overthrew the money changers and issued harsh words for the establishment for using the law to exclude and demean people. He was definitely not “status quo.” Liberation of the oppressed is never a status quo activity. If the church would actually try it, we’d learn it for ourselves…

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
7 years ago

One of Toronto’s English language dialies on the right is giving odds on Marc Cardinal Oulett–a conservative in the mold of B-16. African and South American candidates are also a good bet.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/11/pope-benedict-xvi-resigns-cardinal-marc-ouellet-among-frontrunners-to-replace-him/

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
7 years ago

“One may have disagreed with his conservatism, but one cannot but admire his deep spirituality, and scholarship”

Leaving the person of the current Pope aside – I really struggle with the idea that spirituality can stand as an isolated accomplishment regardless of kind of life it inspires the spiritual person to lead.
What value abstract spirituality when it translates into continuing to marginalise whole groups of people?

Spirituality has to be measured, as everything else, by the fruit of a person’s life.

Cynthia
Cynthia
7 years ago

“What value abstract spirituality when it translates into continuing to marginalise whole groups of people? Spirituality has to be measured, as everything else, by the fruit of a person’s life.” Very much so. I used to love the Catholics here in the US, and I still love the nuns. The nuns are, and the church was, on the forefront of service to the poor and marginalized. They were/are great! But once the RC church came to be about conservative politics and incessant lobbying to force their views on the rest of the US, they lost focus on the poor and… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
Rosemary Hannah
7 years ago

@ChrisH – well the liberal church where I worship is pretty much bursting at the seams, yes.

Father David
Father David
7 years ago

Will Benedict XVI be replaced by that great mythical figure a liberal pope who will sanction the ordination of women and gay marriage? No, I don’t think so! My money, for what it’s worth, is on the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan. It’s about time the Italians seized back the papal throne after the incumbencies of a Polish and a German pope

JCF
JCF
7 years ago

Prayers for a—all trends to the contrary—MIRACLE Conclave! For a new Bishop of Rome who, if not infallible (hardly), at least doesn’t do so much to try to THWART the will of God.

God bless and keep Josef Ratzinger…and his influence away from the RCC ever again. Merciful Christ, True Vine: reform your Church (every branch).

Deacon Charlie Perrin
Deacon Charlie Perrin
7 years ago

“Is this that English sarcasm/irony that we Americans don’t always get?”

Yes, Cynthia, that was sarcasm. American sarcasm to be specific. I thought it was obvious. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

John
John
7 years ago

And I do strongly wish that our C of E leaders wouldn’t cringe in this way. We have our own integrity. Even Fif people think that – otherwise they’d be rushing out the door, but they aren’t, I sincerely hope they won’t, and at the end of the day they won’t. The C of E – Anglicanism generally – is better. It has made some attempt – albeit fitful and sectionalist – to grapple with modernity. Let’s spurn sycophancy.

Jonathan Jennings
Jonathan Jennings
7 years ago

Cynthia – yes!

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
7 years ago

We didn’t warn you about the House of Bishops’ cunning plan to get Women Bishops sorted, did we? Once the new guy says OK to women priests, FiF are stuffed.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
7 years ago

Of the many many media reports today, both secular and religious, it was not until I listened to this evening’s radio news covereage on CBC Radio One (World at Six) that I heard the ” A” word i.e. Pope Benedict has not simply resigned, or is “stepping down”, he is abdicating. Much is being made of his being the first Pope to abdicate in six centuries. Unlike the Queen,for instance, the pope is no mere figurehead. He has universal jurisdiction and is a centralized authority. He has stated clearly that health and age have motivated him to take this onerous… Read more »

Counterlight
Counterlight
7 years ago

Pope Pius XIII anyone? To be honest, I really don’t care. I don’t think much of anything will change in Rome. If anything does change, it will probably be for an even sharper turn to the right. We could get a fanatic who excommunicates everyone and throws up barbed wire around the Vatican; not likely, but more likely than any softening of the hard line on women, gays, and sexuality that continues to undermine the moral authority of the church, especially on the issue of human rights. I expect Benedict’s successor to continue policies concerning all the crime and scandal… Read more »

John Thorp
7 years ago

I have never liked Pope Benedict’s views, but in many ways I like the man. This seems an entirely dignified departure. Among many other things, it is an acknowledgement — at least on one level — that the church is a human institution. One thing of which I feel very sure is that this pope, in his retirement, will not try to interfere in the work of his successor (unlike that most undignified last-ABC-but-one.)

John
John
7 years ago

Come again, Bishop Pete? I can’t be the only one here often to regret it when I’ve hit the ‘post’ button.

peterpi - Peter Groos
peterpi - Peter Groos
7 years ago

The Roman Catholic Church [RCC] is what it is. Hopes for a liberal pope who authorizes women priests and accepts gay people and countless other things are hopelessly naive. I think the best to be hoped for is that the new pope reverses the braking of Vatican II reforms that Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI imposed, and starts a re-evaluation of how to proceed forward. Maybe even in conjunction with the College of Cardinals. But! Regardless of what I, a non-Roman Catholic, think of Pope Benedict XVI’s term in office, What a concept: To admit that age and… Read more »

Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
7 years ago

Now, now Pete! That doesn’t sound very episcopal.

rambler
rambler
7 years ago

I wonder how well the successor will cope with the increasing disaffection manifested, for example, in the Irish RC church, despite the best efforts of Charlie Brown. And the Ordinariate? It’s hard to imagine any of the bookies’ favourites being as interested in so precious a manifestation of European aestheticism as was Ratzinger. The Ordinariate has helped make the CoE more protestant. The evangelical wing is no longer balanced by the catholic wing, because the catholic wing is now almost a rump. Whatever Ratzinger’s legacy for the RCC, his influence on the CoE, and Anglicanism, has been profound. Interesting times.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
7 years ago

Pete Broadbent might have used flippant language, but the point he made is valid! If Rome ever decided that women could and should be priests there would be nowhere left for those who are still opposed. Rome most certainly would not give them an honoured enclave within the church.

But I don’t think we need worry – this will not happen in any of our lifetimes.

JCF
JCF
7 years ago

“Hopes for a liberal pope who authorizes women priests and accepts gay people and countless other things are hopelessly naive.”

Peterpi, consider who you’re talking to: Christians. We believe a man rose from the dead, remember? On the scale of the impossible, that an elevated RC bishop could—in the next 25 years—say “People are people. Women, gay? Eh. Still people. Still the same mixture of sinner&saint. Eh…OK.”

Certainly unlikely—but “rose from the dead”? ;-/

Locuste Iste
Locuste Iste
7 years ago

“… where the C of E leads, Rome follows.”
Are you suggesting the Church elect a Chief Bishop who has less that one year’s experience as a bishop,like the C of E. That was a panic knee-jerk reaction. The ABC’s only memorable contribution at Liverpool was to have the bells rung ( badly) to sort of resemble John Lennon’s “There’s no heaven…”
The C of E is leading to terminal decline.

Charles Read
Charles Read
7 years ago

John – that was a bishop telling a joke. Surely you have encountered this phenomenon before?

Robert – Benedict steps down and it is lauded as a humanizing thing to do to the papacy; +Pete makes a touguue in cheek comment and that’s not allowable within the parameters of episcopal behaviour?

Bishops who are human beings – bring it on!

Jeremy
Jeremy
7 years ago

Notable in the ABC’s response: “We who belong to other Christian families….”

Indeed. The Anglican Communion is a family of related but autonomous churches. Nothing more.

Can we detect in this statement an end to the former Archbishop’s campaign of centralization?

James
James
7 years ago

Those so quick to laud the man, and/or his “spirituality”, or, as Justin Welby so regrettably has done, his record of witness, might do well to read this, alternative, well-founded, take on Ratzinger cum Benedict. “http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2010/03/the_great_catholic_coverup.html?fb_ref=sm_fb_share_chunky” rel=”nofollow”>http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2010/03/the_great_catholic_coverup.html?fb_ref=sm_fb_share_chunky Where I live, and work, in the thick of the RC world, the legacy of this Pope, whether it be the cover-up of sexual abuse, the appointment of arch-conservative men of deeply troubling character to positions of authority, the treatment of women or sexual minorities, the bullying of theologians and institutions of higher education, and the recent pronouncements so weak in theology, so… Read more »

Bernard
Bernard
7 years ago

Rambler – Whatever Benedict XVI had done – turning the Anglo Catholics in the CofE into a rump isnt one of them. The Ordinariate has attracted so far around 1500 Anglican parishioners and a maximum of 100 priests, some of whom were already retired. Far from creating a rump it has shown how most conservative Anglo-Catholics prefer to stay in the C of E and fight for a decent long term place in it.

Bernard
Bernard
7 years ago

To Erika Baker – If the Roman Catholic Church were ever to create women priests – highly unlikely – but what if??? It would no doubt do it by creating a new Rite within the church which would include priests of both sexes.

rambler
rambler
7 years ago

Bernard, thank you. I stand corrected. Teaches me not to believe everything I read/hear. Interesting times, nevertheless. Thank you.

Cynthia
Cynthia
7 years ago

ChrisH

Like Rosemary, my liberal parish is growing rapidly. We expanded the church’s capacity by 30 percent and in 3 years we’re already maxed out and starting a 3rd “Sunday” service (it might be Saturday).

Why the growth? Excellent liturgy and music, robust outreach, but most of all we have lots of new families who don’t want their children to be raised in a hateful environment. Liberation has brought many blessings.

John
John
7 years ago

I admire Bishop Pete Broadbent for fighting for a place for FiF people even though he thinks them wrong.

Charles Read
Charles Read
7 years ago

Locuste Iste you win the prize for being the first to criticize the new ABC in public. Just over a week in office…

Cynthia
Cynthia
7 years ago

“Whatever Ratzinger’s legacy for the RCC, his influence on the CoE, and Anglicanism, has been profound.” It seems like there was a strong influence in the UK, but in the US I don’t think the pope or the RCC has made the slightest impression in TEC, let alone a profound one. Well, except in a backwards direction. Our liberal Anglo-Catholic parish has a lot of ex-Catholics. In the US, there are many more people who identify as “ex-Catholics” then as Catholics. I guess in the US people are more willing to “vote with their feet” and try other denominations. It… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
7 years ago

After all the (mostly ill-informed) criticism of General Synod for its requirement of a two-thirds ‘special’ majority in each house to approve the draft Measure that would enable women to become bishops, it is interesting to note that a two-thirds majority plus one in the conclave of cardinals (i.e. 79 out of 117) is needed to elect Benedict’s successor as Pope.

Sara MacVane
Sara MacVane
7 years ago

@ Locuste Iste: and what about Ambrose?

Sara MacVane
Sara MacVane
7 years ago

Ooops sorry. You can take out my last one, I meant Augustine of course. So, what about Augustine, Locuste Iste??

primroseleague
primroseleague
7 years ago

Jeremy,

“Can we detect in this statement an end to the former Archbishop’s campaign of centralization?”

Er, isn’t he just talking about everyone who isn’t an RC here and reflecting on Benedict’s papacy? Not grandstanding about his own communion through the medium of grammatical split hairs…

Jean Mayland
Jean Mayland
7 years ago

Unlike Deacon Charlie Ido not think Christ was an advocate of the ‘status quo’- rather one of turning the world upside down. I wish the RCs could elect a Pope like that but I fear that with the Cardinals they have he will be yet another Conservative. My heart bleeds for my RC friends who long for women priests and equality for gay people.

Father David
Father David
7 years ago

I think Canon Giles Fraser got in there first before Locuste Iste and thus wins the prize for being the first to criticize the new ABC with his swan song article in last Friday’s Church Times.

Edward Prebble
Edward Prebble
7 years ago

In the US, there are many more people who identify as “ex-Catholics” then as Catholics
Cynthia, is that really true? I ask that as a real question, rather than challenging your statement. I am certainly aware of a large number of people leaving the Catholic church (and I see it in New Zealand as well) but I was not aware that those leaving greatly outnumber those remaining.
Can you substantiate your statement?
Edward Prebble

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
7 years ago

Re two thirds majorities, that’s the catch-22 that favors status quo.

peter kettle
7 years ago

If anyone has nothing better to do, they might like to research whether a Pope and an Archbishop of Canterbury has taken up the reins of office within a few weeks of each other!

John Bunyan
John Bunyan
7 years ago

I am surprised that the Archbishop of York is reported as referring to the Pope as successor of St Peter. If he means that in the usual,Roman Catholic sense, that is certainly not the view of many Anglicans. If Simon Peter did go to Rome and was martyred there (not absolutely certain), there is no evidence that he (or probably anyone else) was “Bishop of Rome” in the early days of the Christian communities in that city.

Cynthia
Cynthia
7 years ago

David, don’t the cardinals have multiple votes, and therefore narrow the field? That is rather different from a 2/3rds vote in your General Synod on an issue. Clearly, General Synod did not reflect the overwhelming view of the vast majority of CoE laity. That is a big problem. Being a discriminatory “established church” is a big problem. Driving people out of the church because of these quaint views is yet another problem. Then there’s the call of the Good News for justice and compassion and CoE’s lack of credibility on social justice and equality because of the quaint views of… Read more »

robert ian Williams
robert ian Williams
7 years ago

What freaks me ..is if you read traditionalist ( not necessarily SSPX) Catholic websites..for many Pope Benedict was a liberal and quasi- Conservative.

To me , Pope Benedict was a sound man, deeply spiritual and intellectual.

I think his pontificate and legacy has been very important to the future direction of the Catholic Church.

Father Ron Smith
7 years ago

Pope Benedict’s most admirable contribution towards understanding in the Church? – His very first encyclical, in which he explained the efficacy of Love in ‘Eros’. Sadly, he didn’t follow it up.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
7 years ago

The 2/3 majority requirement might be significant. John Paul II changed it, so that only 50% was required after a certain number of voting rounds. Benedict XVI rescinded that a some point early on, so the status quo ante prevails. Given the vast number of cardinals appointed by both Popes largely in their conservative image, no-one should expect a radical appointment, which is a shame. The RC church urgently needs a moderniser who can relate to, preferably come from, the Global South.

Cynthia
Cynthia
7 years ago

I said: In the US, there are many more people who identify as “ex-Catholics” then as Catholics Edward asks: Cynthia, is that really true? I ask that as a real question, rather than challenging your statement. I am certainly aware of a large number of people leaving the Catholic church (and I see it in New Zealand as well) but I was not aware that those leaving greatly outnumber those remaining. Can you substantiate your statement? I heard the statistic on NPR, National Public Radio. I can’t recall which of the big groups did the survey. Perhaps I can look… Read more »

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