NEWS:  February 25, 2013
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Bird’s Eye View of the News

Atila Sinke Guimarães
THE HYPOCRITICAL GLORIFICATION OF DISHONOR -    It is an immemorial tradition in Navies around the world that a captain does not abandon his ship when it is in danger. Also, if the ship is wrecked in war and starts to sink, the captain is the last one to leave the deck. In some cases, his commitment is such that he voluntarily goes down with his ship and dies.

Edward Smith captain of the Titanic


Edward Smith, Captain of the Titanic,
went down with his ship

In pre-Vatican II classes of Catholic Morals in secondary schools, it was explained that a captain who goes down voluntarily with his ship does not commit suicide; nor does a soldier who voluntarily dies to defend his flag. This is because they die for a symbol of their country; such a commitment to duty is not suicide but a noble and honorable tribute to their country. These sublime deaths have inspired not a few pieces of art and literature.

The sense of this heroic action is still present today. It was proved last year by the universal condemnation of the shameless flight of the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that shipwrecked off the shores of Tuscany. Captain Francesco Schettino ran off in one of the first lifeboats that dropped from the ship.

Well, this sense of honor and the correlated disdain for cowardice were completely absent from the resignation of Benedict XVI and the subservient glorification made of his shameful action by the Vatican and the Catholic Hierarchy. There is no need to say that this “poor old Pope” surge has found echo in most of the media. I believe this to be a fundamentally hypocritical attitude.

Everyone knows that this is an act of dishonor unheard of in the Church in view of the alleged reasons for the resignation. Motivated by love for their ecclesiastical careers and fear of confronting the decision of a Sovereign Pontiff, the Vatican and the Bishops have fallen on their knees before an action they know is shameful. Who would not call this hypocrisy?

Benedict’s last Mass before his official resignation on February 28 is being prepared as a kind of apotheosis in his papal career - a hypocritical glorification of dishonor.

I am glad to record here two exceptions to this rule: the Archbishop of Krakow Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, whose first reaction to the resignation was to say that “one does not come down from the cross” God gave him. Later, however, he also bowed to the powerful pressure of hypocrisy when he complained that his comment had been taken out of context. Another was the Archbishop of Dijon, Rolland Minnerath, who, criticizing the Pope’s decision, affirmed “when one is Pope, he is so until death.”

Benedict abandons the Chair of Peter

Benedict XVI abandons the Chair of Peter

The reasons Benedict XVI alleged to abdicate are not convincing. He cited as excuses his old age and lack of strength to bear the weight of the mission. I believe these reasons do not suffice to step down from the Papacy. Almost every Pope in History was old; this is why the Papacy is called a gerontocracy, a government by old men.

I can understand that Celestine V, who revealed himself completely unfit for the Papacy, would renounce the office after six months, fleeing from the Vatican back to his hermit’s grotto from which he had been taken entirely against his will. I understand that Gregory XII would abdicate to save the Church from a chaotic situation in which three men declared themselves to be popes. All three were asked to resign and a new Pope, Martin V, was elected.

Afterwards, in the History of the Church it was recorded that Gregory XII was the true Pope and John XXIII and Benedict XIII were anti-popes. Thus it reads that the first resigned and the latter two were deposed by the Council of Constance. But the situation at that time was far from clear. Gregory XII renounced the Papacy amid chaos, perhaps without knowing what the future judgment of the Church would be. Benedict XVI’s abdication fits neither of these exceptional cases.

He is today proportionally as healthy as he was when he was elected eight years ago. He had already had a heart attack and a pacemaker implant then; he had also fallen in the bathroom and cut his head, a grave injury requiring stitches and hospitalization. After he became Pope, there were no outstanding incidents that would have impeded his ability to speak or think. I would venture to say that he has had even more leisure than before, as demonstrated by his nonstop production of personal books, at the pace of one new book every other year.

Therefore, his excuse of becoming weaker is not a valid reason for resignation. Rather he looks like either a coward or someone who has a hidden agenda.

Transforming the Papacy into a job

Someone told me a comment of a simple woman off the street about Pope Ratzinger’s abdication. She said: “I considered him to be my Father; isn’t this what a Pope is? But how can a father resign from his mission? A father is always a father, just as a daughter is always a daughter. It is a reality inherent to the person … it is impossible to resign from this. It is absurd.”

Benedict XVI, soon to retire

By adbicating the Papacy, Benedict XVI is carrying out his progressivist agenda

What a wise woman, whose words reflect the centuries-old Catholic sense! Yes, it is absurd. Perhaps it is this paternal note he wants to do away with in order to destroy the patriarchal character of the Papacy. Was not the first act of Benedict XVI to abolish the title of Patriarch of the West from the many titles the Pope holds? So, also, his last act is to break the paternal note of the Papacy. With this act, he leads us to see the Pope as something like a president of a company and the Papacy as a job, not as an inherent mission given by God for life to one man to orient mankind on the path of salvation.

Destroying the monarchy in the Church

Let us recall here that it was Card. Joseph Ratzinger who advised John Paul II to retire at age 85 and that now he is taking his own advice at that same age. With this he seems to be trying to establish a rule. If this rule becomes effective, then it will have serious consequences for the whole monarchical regime of the Catholic Church.

The present regime in the Church is an elective Monarchy for life. This follows a process: a body of equals, the College of Cardinals, meets to elect one of their members in accordance with precise rules, which, by the way, were slightly modified by the new Motu Proprio Normas nonnullas released this morning. Once elected, God confirms the election and the man is invested as Pope.

Cardinals at the Vatican

The College of Cardinals will become the supreme power in the Church

This investiture is for life. The essential note that confers the monarchical character to the Papacy is that it is for life. The moment one does away with this characteristic, the Papacy essentially changes. Instead of being a structure based on one man, the Papacy becomes an office delegated by the College of Cardinals to one of its members who will exercise a provisory function for a limited period of time.

This change by itself transforms the Church from a monarchy to an aristocratic republic, where the power essentially belongs to the College of Cardinals.

In other words, after the Conciliar Popes have attacked the Papal Monarchy in every possible way for the last 50 years, now Benedict XVI - by stepping down and attempting to establish 85 as the retirement age for popes – delivers a strong final blow, intended to be fatal, to the regime.

Are these not reasons enough for God to send lightning from Heaven to strike the Vatican cupola as a serious warning not to change His Papacy?

Opening another period of change

Another aspect of Benedict’s abdication is that it opens a season for change in the very structure of the Church. Will this action have consequences? What will they be? These are questions we should keep in mind as the new Conclave prepares to meet.