The news media has carried on in their usual way with regard to the retirement of the Pope. Headlines talked about it being “Shocking” and “Unbelievable.”
First, when I’m 85, I hope I’m well experienced at being retired. Serving until death is a leftover from the days when the Monarch was expected to actively participate in combat and dodge assassination attempts. Life expectancy was much shorter.
The Catholic Church is like any large organization. Leaders come and leaders go. They tend to come from the same pool of candidates. I suspect that Fortune 500 CEOs reflect a lot of individuals with Harvard MBAs and who grew up thinking country clubs were a normal part of life.
I drive a Ford. I have no idea as to who is the current president of Ford, or who’s on their board of directors. It doesn’t affect me. To a large degree, the same is true of the Pope.
Large powerful organizations do both good and ill. With a two thousand year history, the Catholic Church has had more opportunities to experience errors, suffer from bad leadership, as well as do some good things. The bad stuff is more interesting to talk about.
Look at Catholics, as opposed to the Catholic Church organization and hierarchy. Like most other Christians we get up each morning, pray to do a good job, do some things right, screw up on others, ask forgiveness, and keep on going. Like other Christians we place our faith in Christ, along with our hope and love.
If the news media reported a month from now that the Catholic hierarchy had been unable to elect a Pope, it would not affect most Catholics. We’d still attend Mass Sunday mornings and try to live our faith on a daily basis.