Sorry, but it just never entered my mind for one nanosecond to thank the Holy Father for his pontificate. It’s not that I’m an ungrateful wretch. It’s not that I’m not thankful for what Pope Benedict XVI has done in his service to the Lord as a sign of unity which our Lord established him to be.
It’s that saying “thanks” somehow means that it’s all over. Sure, he will no longer be protected from saying stupid things as the Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, to the universal Church on matters of faith and morals. Sure, he will no longer be able to posit administrative acts as the Bishop of Rome, as our Holy Father.
However, Benedict XVI is not heading out to rest, to take it easy, to condemn our Lord for providing a cross. No, no. He’s entering the fray of the battle all the more intensely, as I pointed out here in this post on the agony of Pope Benedict XVI.
My thanksgiving, if anything, is not to say “Thanks! Goodbye!” Rather, it is to understand what he is doing and why, and then to choose to offer ourselves to our Lord in solidarity with him.
Does that mean ignoring the next successor of Saint Peter? By no means.
You are in need of a reprimand if you don’t think that Pope Benedict XVI will be offering his all for the next successor of Saint Peter. He will be totally dedicated to the pontificate as never before, more intensely, more available.
If someone, say, such as Cardinal Burke, should be elected, becoming, I would guess, Pope Benedict XVII, well then, in that case, I would also say that there will never have been such a close friendship, such joyful consultation, of two men chosen by our Lord and totally dedicated to Him in all the history of the Church.
As Benedict XVI moves into intense hermit mode in the Vatican Gardens, let’s be with him in being totally dedicated to the Rock upon which the Lord founded His Church. Many are throwing rocks, but’s let’s be with the Rock who is Peter, and, indeed, with the Rock of our salvation, who is Christ the Lord, Son of the Immaculate Conception.
Here’s where the Holy Father will be making pilgrimages in future days, the Lourdes Grotto in Vatican City Gardens, where he will take up being a hermit: