Pope Benedict XVI: Not a bad sort


popWe’ve just learned that the Pope has given his notice.

How is a protestant supposed to react to such news?  With sensitivity, I hope.

While we might struggle to come to grips with the theology that the Pope symbolises, we can reminisce on Pope Benedict XVI’s contributions.

Let’s start with the negatives.

I think that it is fair to say that most people expected the Pope to tackle the sex abuse scandals in North America and Europe with a little more vigor than has been demonstrated.  The issues to this day are still floating because no decisive action has been taken by the papacy to deal with them.  Bags not being the next pope that has to clean it up.

colnelAnd who could forget the 2012 incident regarding the butler, in the library with the secret letters.  I don’t know what to make of it, but surely it’s not a good look to have a Cluedo-like scenario unfolding in the Vatican.

Then there was the 2006 speech (or should we call it a blunder?) when he claimed that Mohammad brought the world only ‘evil and inhumane’ things.  Ok, so even if you believe it, as the Pope you can’t say that.

The final blunder of note, in my books, came in 2009 when he decried the use of condoms with reference to stemming the spread of HIV.  Interestingly, in a stroke of human biological oversight (let’s be generous) he claimed that the use of condoms would make the problem worse.  Now, the Pope can argue all he likes about the merits of birth control, but to say that using condoms would increas the HIV problem is a little naive.

Why don’t we move on the positives.

Pope Benedict XVI was a warrior in the face of a growing tide of secularism, especially on the continent.  He pushed for Christianity to persevere in the marketplace of ideas.  The ‘New Evangelisation’ was a message he took not only to the Church, but also to the most powerful leaders in the world.  Indeed, Michael Cameron has stated that the Pope’s visit to England in 2010 with this message had a bearing on his political position on the matter.

human-and-robot-handHow could we overlook the Pope’s re-humanisation of the human.  Benedict was a conservative and this is reflected in his view on life.  I liked this.

I also liked his hands on style.  Remember back to 2012 when he wrote a letter to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to let him know that he didn’t appreciate the way that Christians were being treated in Iran.  That’s what I’m talking about.

Finally, and on this note I will finish the post, he demonstrates wisdom in stepping from the office of the Bishop of Rome before he could not carry out his duties anymore.

This takes humility, wisdom and love for the church.

6 Days to Christmas…


twitterWell, the Pope’s been at it a week now.

He has the world at his fingertips, well, 1 245 470 people to be exact, plus those that happen to somehow chime in on his 140 characters of wisdom.

I waited and waited for the first tweet.  I wondered what it would be.  A few of my friends on face book gave some suggestion of what he might say.  One hinted that he could be coming out of the closet to profess that justification is by faith alone.  Another one of my witty friends thought he could come out with, ‘Holy Tweet!’,  hahahaa.

What was it?

A bit of a let down really – ‘Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.’

But I tell you what, the full stop was the 140th character – it’s his first tweet and he’s all over this game!

maryHis latest tweet was this: ‘Mary is filled with joy on learning that she is to be the mother of Jesus, God’s Son made man. True joy comes from union with God’ – no full stop (129 characters).

What do you reckon?

Mary, as one who was bearing Jesus (or in union with Jesus) was filled with joy – a reference to the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55).  If you want true joy as Mary did then you must be in union with God.

True or false?