Gone are the days, it seems, when popes ruled for life, only stepping down from their divine assignment when they were at the gates meeting St. Peter.
The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in 2013 seemed like an anomaly. At least it had never happened in modern times and only a handful of times throughout the existence of this divine office.
Resign? As in you put in a few good years as CEO and now it is time to cash in? Step down? Take up different rooms in the papal residence? Enjoy the good life before you encounter the Good Life?
I should have realized this was the start of something new. A new way to be pope. But Pope Francis offered such promise, and well, we all knew that popes selected through divine intervention served (ruled?) for life.
But alas, no. Benedict started a new modern papal model. A new career + retirement model.
After two years in office, Pope Francis is indicating he will do the same. He will step down. He will retire. Any time now.
Excuse me? I can’t help being a bit stunned and baffled. Granted, I am an outsider looking in on the byzantine nature of the Roman Catholic church. I can’t understand the mysterious ways of the church. Or for that matter, God.