Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Pope Retires: My Non-Catholic Thoughts

So I am not a Catholic.  Nor am I catholic, even though I like to think I am sometimes. 

There are a lot of big beliefs I don't share with the Catholic faith.  But I completely respect the institution and it's followers.  It's just not a fit for me on a personal level.

That aside, I have seen the Pope (John Paul II) live and in person from not too many feet away.  I went to a Catholic school.  And find certain aspects of the religion utterly fascinating (like the details of how they chose a Pope for example...the colored smoke...get out of town...it's fabulous!).  I am no expert on Catholicism but I am not stranger to it either.

So that's your warning on my background.  Don't yell at me that I am not Catholic so I don't know what you know.

Here is what I think...

What the heck is the big whoop-d-do about this man retiring? 

I have never understood why they pick Popes who are so gosh darn old to begin with?  That's the biggest job in the entire faith and arguably, one of the biggest jobs in the world.  You need stamina and creativity and energy.  Not something often found in those over 70.  And if you wait for a man to die, then you likely have a decade or so where you get a sort of lame duck Pope. 

Retirement just seems like the best option for everyone.  Why it hasn't happened in 600 years seems crazy to me.  This man worked hard and served his faith and followers well for more than half a century.  He deserves to sit back and relax for a few years. 

So I think the gossip about a Pope retiring, instead of dying, is so dumb.  What a lame news story.  The REAL story is that he is going to retire to (so says NBC and CNN) a convent full of nuns.  Insert about 4000 jokes and endless giggles.  Why a convent instead of a normal apartment or the equivalent for priests is so curious! 

Those who are Catholic, please fill me in.  Will he still be called Pope or even former Pope as we refer to our Presidents here in the US?  Or will he be demoted to his title and name prior to becoming Pope? 



mFw said...

I only know what I've read in the media, but I'm sure soon my mom will have some info from some of her friends. Our neighbor is very close to Cardinal Dolan of NY.

About where he will be living it is a former monastery that nuns moved out of in Oct and since then there have been top secret renovations done.

Its just so different so we will see!

Flo said...

Not Catholic here either, but I do have to say that I am glad to hear that he is retiring and I give him credit for admitting that he didn't feel like he could fullfill the obligations of the job at his advanced age. The last pope should have done the same, he was a mess towards the end. I'm with you on the why do they pick them so old to begin with. I understand that they have wisdom and experience, but good grief!!

Tammy B said...

I'm not Catholic either, but I do respect the faith. I read that the reason that they are appointed for life is to prevent opposing factions from overthrowing. Makes sense. Also, in the olden days all the Pope did was sit in a back room and read scriptures. There was not a lot of travel because of the lack of modern means. In modern times, there is more demands on the Pope and they need to be a little bit younger. It used to break my heart to see Pope John Paul II as his health had failed tremendously. In my opinion, they may elect older men to become Pope so that the younger ones don't do a major reformation of the Church....just my opinion.

Suburban prep said...

I am a Catholic. 16 years of Catholic school. I married a Catholic too.

From what I understand he will go back to being called Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (I am not sure the correct spelling on his name). He is 86 yrs old and actually he was the oldest elected man to become Pope in 2005 at age 78. He has a brother who is a priest as well. His brother is 90 yrs old (I think).

This Pope has a pacemaker. That can restrict you on activity but it also helps you live. You get exhausted and are unable to attend to what you might feel you want to. (I know this as my mother had a pacemaker put in this past August after she had her second aortic dissection in less than 6 months and then she had a seizure in front of me and my then 3 yr old nephew-- that night she had it put in). The pacemaker helps your heart beat if it is beating to slowly.

The last Pope had Parkinson's. My MIL has that disease and it is a hard one.

I think that the Catholic church (at least What I am aware of in my area) wants someone who will be aware of the differing social and political issues going on in the world now. They want someone who will understand and represent the Catholic peoples to the best of his ability. The ones that I have seen who they think have a head above others are on the younger side (mid 50's I think). Pope John Paul II was in his 50's when first elected. I think he did not resign because it had not been done for so long (almost 600 yrs).

3 Peanuts said...

I am Catholic and went to Catholic grade school, high school and college. I think that Suburban Prep answered all of your questions really well. It IS a BIG news story because it has not happened in over 600 hundred years (and some of those early resignations were a little scandalous). We don't really have precedence for this. Plus it was a HUGE surprise. Nobody saw it coming from what I understand (except some insiders maybe). Also, he is a huge leader so his resignation is big news. I have mixed feelings about the situation.

It will be very interesting to see who is chosen.

Have you ever read Pope Joan?



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