Since Pope Benedict’s shock announcement Monday, I have held off commenting. Time was needed to step back and consider just what this astounding action from the world’s leading defender of life and family really meant. It was an earthquake announcement that had to have greater significance than the Pope merely being tired and worn out. The two lightening strikes onto the dome of St. Peter’s that evening added an uncanny emphasis that the Pope’s action demanded the world’s attention.
So, really, why did Pope Benedict suddenly announce that he would abdicate the ministry of Successor of St. Peter in only 17 days? It is nearly impossible for me to believe that the reasons are as simple as Benedict has stated (although I believe that he is indeed very tired and barely able to carry on which we saw on our last 2 visits to Rome). There are clues.
Robert Moynihan, a reliable, long-time Vatican observer and Founder of Inside the Vatican magazine, also finds himself unsettled about the Pope’s announcement and wrote in his Feb. 12 report:
“Are there facts the Pope has weighed in making this decision that we simply don’t know about, or don’t know fully? … Does the Pope have information about the possible course of events in the months ahead that led him to conclude that he needed to allow a younger, more energetic man to take over his office from him, so that the Church’s highest authority could take action quickly and decisively as events unfold?”