The world awoke to the news today that Benedict XIV, Holy Roman Pontiff has announced he will be retiring at 8pm on February 28, 2013. This has caused consternation for Catholics world-wide as Popes do not normally retire!
However it is not without precedent, (It has been done before) but not for a very long time.
I grew up believing that like the King or Queen of England, The Holy Roman Pontiff was in that position until they drew their last breath. Even I was startled by this news. One of the first things I told my DH upon awakening and being told about the Papal situation was that he ought to read up on the works of St. Malachi because the end-timers, prophets of doom and such like will be out in droves looking to see if the next Pontiff is of dark skin. I will get to that in a minute.
For those like me who figured Benedict would be with us until he is called to his spiritual eternal home, perhaps a read of this will help you to learn the history of retirements in the Papacy.
The article was written during the Papacy of John Paul II and makes very interesting reading:
The Holy Father may retire if he chooses. The Code of Canon Law states, “If it should happen that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that he makes the resignation freely and that it be duly manifested, but not that it be accepted by anyone” (Canon 332, No. 2). Nevertheless, when a pope is elected as the Successor of St. Peter, the Church expects that he will remain in office until his death.
However, in the history of the Church, a few popes have resigned for various reasons, and a few have been deposed for various reasons. Click the Link for the complete article.
A little about St. Malachy (referred to a moment ago): Malachy, a catholic priest serving in the 11th century, reportedly made a long series of predictions concerning future popes. According to his prediction, only one pope will take office following the current Pope Benedict. This pope will be known as “Peter The Roman”, and will serve during the reign of the Antichrist.
Even as I am writing this, news media have begun speculation as to who the next Pope will be (may be) and as to the colour of his skin. They speculate also as to his character and spiritual choices. Many believe the Papacy needs to modernize itself and be more ‘in touch’ with the younger generation. Others believe the Catholic Church should remain stoic – keep strictly to the standards set by Jesus Christ. These are two opposing points of view, which are not helped by the crisis in the Church over sexual abuse – worldwide.
Are we in end times now? The Bible tells us clearly there will be signs see Mark 13:32 , but this is NOT the end there is much more to come……. I am a Follower of Jesus Christ and I await His return. Is it imminent? I do not know – would be great if it was! Am I afraid – why should I be!
I feel the Catholic Church will be in emotional and spiritual pain right now – but those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. Is.40:31
If the Roman Church is to collapse then so be it. God leads those who trust in Him. I place my hope and trust firmly in Him.