02 March 2013

Another Thought About The Benedictine Revolution

I published some thoughts here about the Pope's renunciation, suggesting that the signals that he was going to do this had been there, had we but noticed.

I also suggested that he had not just outflanked his enemies in the Curia by keeping this momentous decision secret, but that by promoting Mgr Gaenswein had taken a side against the curial faction in the Vatileaks scandal.

Something else has gradually become clear to me over the last weeks: the Pope strove to remove the symbols of the temporal authority of the Papacy: not the existence of the Vatican City State which the Church needs to maintain its independence in the world (though it is interesting that it has its own website separate from the Vatican's) but the symbols which linked the office of Pope to that of a Monarch.  His renunciation is not something a Monarch (pace the Dutch) can do, though it is something that a Bishop should.  There were earlier signs: the way in which the Pope rejected the use of the Tiara; his abandonment of the title of Patriarch of the West, something that derived from territoriality rather than from apostolicity, was anotyher clear sign.  (I wish my foresight was as good as my hindsight, by the way.)

The clue to how Benedict XVI saw the Papacy came in his last lectio divina: when he spoke to his seminarians, the seminarians destined for the diocese of Rome, he lectured them on Peter, and on Peter's journey to Rome.  This reseats the office of Pope in the Bishop of Rome: if you like "Pope" is simply a second title of the Bishop of Rome.

Will we ever stop learning from him?


Mater mari said...

I doubt it and sincerely hope not.

Ben Trovato said...

Thanks: useful insights (or hindsights!).

I am founding the University of Advanced Hindsight shortly, and will send you a brochure. The enormous fees will be proven (retrospectively, of course) to have been worth it.