The gay lobby story coming out of Rome seemed to be just a little too much to be believed. I was relieved to see John Allen weigh in with some sensible commentary.
If you want to understand why Benedict is tired, in other words, part of it is because he knows that putting things right inside the Vatican will take a tremendous investment of administrative energy, which he doesn’t feel he can supply, and which probably isn’t in his skill set in any event.
No, Benedict didn’t quit under the pressure of a “gay lobby.” But the perceived disarray in the Vatican, which may well be one part perception and one part reality, probably made resignation look even better.
Applying the old philosophical tool seems to fit. The pope is old and tired. He said what he said.
We also know that the upper hierarchy is no more or less virtuous than any other group of human beings. Ordination, elevation, and careerism impart no special quality of holiness. Holiness derives from God’s grace and from human cooperation with God’s call in our lives. That cooperation might be found in the call to ordination and service, especially if that is aligned with the God-given gifts and abilities of the believer. But thwarting God’s call by the human expressions of nepotism, careerism, greed, and other human considerations–this will result in decay of the culture, especially the individuals and groups involved. There’s no getting around that.
I don’t believe you can completely discount the cumulative impact of the various meltdowns over the last eight years on Benedict’s state of mind.
This makes more sense. Pope Benedict was already at the end of a career as a professor, theologian, bishop, and curial bureaucrat in 2005. He likely counted on a united support from his brothers in the episcopacy and especially the curia. It’s rather ironic that he was unsuccessful in achieving unity with schismatics, and continued to take the hard line against bishops like William Morris who were no threat to him or to the Gospel. He let bishops like Robert Finn, Bernard Law, and others continue, despite the scandal of their behavior and the damage done to the preaching of the Gospel.
Above all, we need a pope who can cut through the blind spots of the Roman perspective and reorient the upper hierarchy to the Gospel.