Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Grinding to a halt

Sorry, but I can barely bring myself to write anything at all. Watched the Papal Audience today and could hardly stand it. People continue to ask me what I think, but I just keep having to tell them that I've got nothing that could possibly be of any help. If you've read me more than a couple of months, you all will know already what I think, and if you haven't then I wouldn't be able to help you anyway. We are Catholics, and Traditionalists; you already have all the information you need.

I can tell you how I'm feeling, though.

Imagine for a moment that you are a footsoldier in the British army and the Duke of Wellington, on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, just announced that he didn't feel up to it any more and went home. How would the English soldiers at Agincourt have felt if, instead of hearing, "We band of brothers," it had been, "I'm too tired. You're on your own." What do you imagine would the effect have been on those men? How would they have felt?

We've been looking to this man for leadership in our War for 30 years, since he first came to Rome to serve in the CDF. Then when the other pope died, he took the reigns in what we all thought was an appointment direct from heaven. Remember? Remember how you felt that day. It wasn't just ordinary joy at a new pope, it was a feeling of hope that we'd not had in the Church for a long time, that, at last, things were going to start to turn around. The news when it came was perhaps the brightest light we had seen in this increasingly horrifying and darkening world since the Asteroid hit and started the War. I remember thinking that I didn't dare hope it would be him because I was afraid to jinx it. I've been told many times by a lot of people that they were thinking the same thing.

We knew, in broad terms, what was coming, and we had a pretty good idea that only a man like Ratzinger was going to be equal to the task. And now, it ends like this? At the moment when the world seems ready to explode, he isn't dead, he hasn't been threatened (that we know), he isn't incapacitated, he isn't going mental. He's just quitting. Walking away because it's too hard? Because he's tired?

What kind of idiot would ever believe that? When has this ever happened? What could possibly, conceiveably, be so horrible, so threatening, that he would do this? And if it was some horrifying threat to the Church, what could possibly be gained by this? How could quitting solve any problem, deflect any danger or resolve any crisis?

These questions will not leave me alone, have kept me awake into the wee hours the last couple of days, and I'm pretty sure will be asked by many people for a long time. I doubt, though, that we will ever have a satisfactory answer before the Parousia.

Now we have a few weeks or perhaps a few months to wait to see if what I think is happening is really happening. Part of me hopes it is, because in the last 14 years that I've been active I've swallowed all of this that I can choke down.

I can't entertain you all. I can't be witty or clever or amusing today. And I've got nothing comforting or encouraging to say. It's just as well that this is Ash Wednesday (a fact I'd actually forgotten until about an hour ago) and I can take Lent as an excuse to clam up for a while. I'm going to try to give up blathering on the internet.

How do I feel? Paralysed. Betrayed. Abandoned.




Anonymous said...

Give up blathering? Sorry, blathering is your vocation. You don't give back what God has given you because it's a little painful.

Oh yeah...

Seraphic said...

It has occurred to me that the disciples felt extremely let down on both Good Friday and Holy Saturday. They had believed Jesus was Lord, and He had gone and died on them in the most shameful manner of execution they knew about. Now what were they supposed to do?

I suppose this is a Holy Saturday for us; we're afraid and disappointed and angry, but we do have a hope that there will be an Easter Sunday out of all this, that it will turn out that Benedict really did know what he was doing all along.


Childermass said...

I'm as nervous as you, but we must pray, pray, pray. And see who is chosen when the white smoke emerges from St. Peter's. After all, there are more Ratzingerians in the College than there have been for a long time. Things might turn out all right, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Pray.

Mark said...

"How do I feel? Paralysed. Betrayed. Abandoned."


Like a father who just walked out on us.

I'm sure he did what he thought what was best for the Church but I can't help feel that way.

And I wish this was some kind of strategic move, but it seems like he was thinking of this for quite some time.

Maybe he really was just tired. Or thought he couldn't keep up with the rock star demands of the Papacy (thank you Bl. John Paul II!) and so thought someone more young, hip and able was needed in these new modern times?

Anonymous said...

I have a great devotion to Our Lady of Solitude, who understands all of what you're feeling because she has lived it herself, only to a depth and intensity we can't begin to comprehend.


Anonymous said...

The more I think about this abdication the stranger it gets. I am a huge admirer of Ratzinger but I have always thought he is stronger as a thinker than a doer. Yes he has done much good as Pope in both preaching the word and in setting a good liturgical example both in his own masses and in permitting the Old Rite. But look at what he has not done: no papal celebration of the old rite, no banning of communion in the hand and numerous unsuitable appointments, see the CDF! If you look back to his only previous role as an "exective" bishop as Archbisop of Munich he seems to have been a weak leader.
He must know that by abdicating he has weakened the tenure of his successors who will now come under pressure to retire at 85?80? 70? 65? Or at the first sign of illness or infirmity.
The only circumstances I think reasonable grounds for papal abdication is mental incapacity. Yes no one wants a pope in a comma or with severe dementia but that could be covered by an advance papal directive to that effect. As for physical disability than should not be grounds: did Our Lord not tell St Peter he would be bound and led where he did not want to go for His sake?
The actual timing is also very strange for the following reasons;
1. Makes no sense in terms of liturgical year. Why not retire after Pentecost?
2. Why retire suddenly when your retirement villa in Vatican is not finished?
3. Why retire at star of Year of Faith you have proclaimed?
4. Why retire when a promised Encyclical is still pending? This by a Pope who is primarily a theologian?
I believe there is dark stuff to come out about what has happened to force the Pope to retire at this moment and when it cones out I fear for Benedict and the Church

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Anonymous posts are not allowed.

Particularly if they are unkind.

Anonymous said...

It was not meant to be unkind! It was a question. I hoped it would get you to focus not on the confusing situation at hand but rather to Christ and his cross. That is where our hope lies. Men come and go even great men. We may never know why the pope has done what he has done. But we don know he is quite a man. So give him the benefit of the dought and put your faith in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the poor spelling but I was in a rush good night!

John Lamont said...

As some commenters have pointed out, this decision could at least be defensible if the Pope had been told he had incipient dementia or Alzheimer's, and had decided to quit immediately after receiving this diagnosis while he was still lucid enough to do so. However, he has not stated that this is the case. I agree with Hilary about the decision being a disaster, but I am not so sure that the pope himself will be a great loss. I think Luc Perrin got it right here: - sorry to non-francophones.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...


anonymous posts, no matter what their content or tone, are not allowed.

Please take a moment to read the commbox rules posted to the left before posting again.

Do not ignore my rules.

Karen said...


Seewald reports that the Pope has gone blind in one eye and is losing his hearing. If he is going blind and deaf...does that change your view? I mean - it still makes the situation serious and quite open to the wolves, but I think it makes the HF's decision far more understandable. And 86-year old blind and deaf Pope? Don't tell me the wolves wouldn't love that MORE than a new Pope.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Anonymous said...

That was superb post you made on LifeSite News Hilary.

If anyone doubts that the Secular wolves will be after the Lamb Ratzringer once he has stepped down from the Seat of Peter then they should read the folowing story from Reuters which makes it clear that the Vatican is worried that he could be sued.
"His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn't have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else," said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity."

What a fearful prospect an Ex Pope on trial in the civil courts!
For whole story see:

There are pelnty of wealthy liberals who would love to humilate Benedict and drag him through the courts. So to avoid this fate, it would appear that Benedict will become a "prisoner of the Vatican" like Pius IX. That Benedict is abdication despite that prosepct makes his decsion stranger than ever to me.