This whole thing with the Pope is just bizarre. No, not the part where he resigns, unless you're thinking it's bizarre for the Pope to exercise such good judgment. The thing that I'm finding bizarre is that no one seems to know where to go from here.
For days now I've heard people in the media worry about what's going to happen now, now that the world no longer has a pope. OMG, what are we to do?
Hello, people, this is not the first time the world has been without a pope. Those old guys die all the time. As a matter of fact, Pope John Paul I was Pope for 33 days, not even long enough to be fitted for a full wardrobe. And for that matter, he wasn't even that old, a sprite 66 years. Nobody could have been expecting that. Yet who remembers all this whining about not having a pope and what are we going to do now?
Okay, maybe they weren't concerned about what to do now because they had just done the thing a mere 33 days earlier. But even so, Pope John Paul XXIII, who was my mother's favorite pope, was only around doing the pope thing for five years, one of which he was suffering with cancer.
The thing that's different is that he's still there, which should make it easier; after all, if there's an emergency in the Catholic church (and what on earth would that be?) I don't think he'd mind a knock on the door for a consultation. This way, if anyone forgets the Church's view on gay marriage or birth control, he could just remind us all.
To my mind, a world without a Pope isn't that different than a world with a Pope. It's not like the church is going to change it's mind on anything. Maybe those folks at the Vatican would get to squirrel away a little more savings, not having to feed and clothe the guy, pay for trips to places where he blesses people. Except they are going to have to continue to feed and clothe the guy, just not in the place the pope lives.
He's going to be living some twenty miles away. Yes, that's right. And other than not having to work, he is going to be maintaining the same style to which he has become accustomed. In fact, after his last official act yesterday, the ex-pope was helicoptered out. When I heard that, I imagined he was going to be taking a short vacation before settling in to retirement. But no, he was being helicoptered out to his new residence, 20 miles away.
At least he went out with the same relevance the Catholic Church has exercised in my considerable lifetime. Screw the fuel, and maybe they could have fed a few starving Romans with the cost of the trip, but, hey, it's the Pope. I mean, the ex-pope.
On the other hand, let's give credit for knowing when to step down. There's an old Catholic on a bench in Washington that would do well to follow the ex-pope's example.