And we're just not going to talk about Torchwood. I'm still not over Children of Earth. Nope. Not even a little.
Today is the last day of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy. As of (assuming my time zone math is correct) 2 this afternoon EST, the pope will step down, becoming Pope Emeritus, His Holiness Benedict XVI. Well, he's already left the Vatican and is at Castel Gandolfo, where he will stay until his successor is elected. But the Swiss Guard doesn't stop guarding him until 8 pm Italian time, and that's what I think is the official end of his papacy.
There's been, and I'm sure it's going to continue until at least his death, all sorts of speculation that Benedict is stepping down because of scandals, because of pressure from within the Vatican, etc. etc. While I obviously don't have any secret knowledge of the goings on in the Vatican, and probably less knowledge than many, I don't believe that any of these speculations are true. I believe the Pope when he says that he is stepping down because his health doesn't allow him to fulfill the office of the pope in the way that it needs to be.
I think some people, because their experience is different, don't quite get the position of the pope. Politicians, for example, have to campaign. They're voted in and they have to keep running and there are term limits. Pastors and heads of other churches are hired/elected but they can also be fired and removed if the congregation doesn't like them or they do something wrong. That's not the case with the pope. There are two beings that can remove a pope. God and the pope himself. That's it.
If you are elected pope, you are put into a position of extreme, if not ultimate, power. You can't be removed. You're a head of state and the religious leader of billions of people around the world. You are God's representative on earth (to those who believe). It's an incredible responsibility, and a burden.
If someone was just there for the power (which is always a fear in any world leader), would they walk away? No. Our politicians don't walk away, even when they should.
It takes strength and an amazing spirit to have power and to set it aside and walk away.
That is what Benedict has done.
He's looked at himself, looked at the job that needs to be done for the Church, and he's given it back to God to entrust to the right man for the Church.