The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI became official today, and his helicopter ride out of the Vatican was surprisingly similar to the disgraceful exit of President Nixon following his 1974 resignation. This marks the end of a troubled rule as Pope for German-born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, who might have claimed that old age related health problems forced him out, but if anything, an endless string of legal and ethical issues and scandals probably emotionally wore out this 85 year old man, who just seemed inept and helpless at controlling the problems for this church. Most Protestant churches would have long ago fired a leader this weak and inept, and replaced them with someone to restore honor and respect to their church. Instead, this church hierarchy only allowed endless sex scandal lawsuits, a bank scandal, at least two murder scandals and rumors of blackmail and other scandals to pretty much bring down the church government of Pope Benedict XVI. He might have been a decent man himself, but he just seemed so helpless to control the bad acts of so many in his organization. He probably leaves his position as tired, demoralized and depressed at all of the problems that plague his church.
This was only the second pope in over 500 years to resign. Further, after the incredibly inspirational term of Pope John Paul II, who was much more deeply beloved and respected, and even considered by some for sainthood, this current pope just never was an effective church leader or manager, despite his “pitbull” reputation for order and control. He seemed to helplessly watch as his church only fell into more and more problems, seeming never to have any skills as a manager to appoint others to stop the bleeding problems. It was probably the worst example of mismanagement ever in the nearly 2,000 year old history of this largest Christian sect church that claims to be founded by the apostle Peter.
Of the church cardinals who are still allowed to vote, who haven’t been personally tainted or damaged by criminal, sexual or other scandals themselves, the search will probably be on to choose one of their own who is younger and more energetic, who has high moral character with no skeletons in his closet to further embarrass this church, and who will restore respect and order to this church and to prevent the further decline of this church as many followers flee this church in horror and disgust about all the seamy scandals that seem to endlessly plague it. At some point you can’t say that people have a great deal of faith that stay in a church despite endless scandals. At some point a person is just plain stupid to trust in something proved real bad and not leave. And this institution is getting pretty close to that breaking point for many of faith. Spiritual discernment should dictate what is spiritual poison or not.
What was supposed to be an institution established to honor and praise God instead became a pretty damning indictment for the evils of organized religion. An institution where sex scandals were as common as efforts to cover up those crimes. Only 62% of Americans give the Catholic Church a positive approval rating because of all the scandals, although this pope gets a little higher marks, but both figures run well below the previous pope who was such a better spiritual leader and manager for this church.
Perhaps through a lot of prayer, this pope at some point realized that he really wasn’t ordained by God to be managing this huge church afterall. It would seem highly unlikely that God would choose some leader who is ineffective at dealing with so many problems, and who was so slow to bring others to justice who were corrupt or criminal in the organization that he was supposed to manage. But, now this church needs to start over fresh, and look to an improved leader to stop this slide.