In a 2010 interview with Peter Seewald in Light of the World, Pope Benedict XVI shared the following thoughts on the idea of papal resignation:
“When the danger is great one must not run away. For that reason, now is certainly not the time to resign. Precisely at a time like this one must stand fast and endure the difficult situation. That is my view. One can resign at a peaceful moment or when one simply cannot go on. But one must not run away from the danger and say that someone else should do it.”
However, “if a Pope clearly recognizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has the right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.”
And today, pastoral theory that may have gone unnoticed by many, becomes pastoral reality. When I read the news this morning, I smiled, thinking of this Pontiff leading by example. Stepping outside of the ordinary to put a bold statement into actual pastoral practice.
I pray that in the relatively small things in my life, I too can find ways to not just speak or write about my theological musings–but also put them into practical, visible action.