Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reflections on Pope Benedict

All the news over the last days about the last this and the last that regarding Pope Benedict’s last days in office caused me to think about who he was and his last day as Pope.

We first knew him as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as he gained international respect and notoriety as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II.  As we learned more about this man, we learned that he was an impressive scholar and author as well as a musician of sorts as his hobby.  We learned that he made significant scholarly contributions to Pope John Paul II in his writings including encyclicals and other matters of faith.

It is very interesting to note that he did not expect to be elected Pope and was looking forward to his retirement back to Regensburg, Germany, to study, to write and to play music with his brother who is a priest including at Masses in his brother’s parish.  Yet, as the saying goes we plan and God laughs.  Our Lord had a much different plan for Cardinal Ratzinger.  The high respect and esteem for him was demonstrated by election as pope on the second day of the conclave.  And, most of us have referred to him by his papal name, Pope Benedict, ever since.

Being the successor to Pope John Paul the Great had to be a very unenviable positon.  Nevertheless, Pope Benedict found his niche.  He has made further scholarly contributions to the world.  He, also, continued to make ecumenical outreaches to other faiths as well as to the orthodox.  He came to the capital of our country and won us over.  And, not to be overlooked but to be applauded, was his apologies to those people who had been abused by the clergy and to offer aid and assistance.  That was way overdue and he, certainly, gained a great deal of respect from many including me for this act.

In these last few days, he reported that, upon election to the papacy, one loses all his privacy.  So, he thinks that his retirement must be in a form of seclusion in order to maintain a degree of privacy that he will not have were he to even try something simple such as taking a walk in Rome.  Undoubtedly, the paparazzi and all sorts of people would surround him.  We understand this loss of privacy and that goes with this very public position.

As he retires from his position as our Pope, let us thank him for what he has done on our behalf and forgive him for whatever mistakes we perceive that he made.  Let us hope that we will be able to learn from his further scholarly contributions.  And let us pray that he may have many wonderful and healthy days in the winter of his life.  May God bless you, Pope Benedict!

Now, you know what I think and I would very much like to know what you think about this subject.   

Let the light of our Lord shine upon you!

REM (Ray Makowski) Co-Founder, Director and Secretary-Treasurer


  1. Ray,
    With all due respect to your opinion on the website in your Spotlight feature "Papal Resignation", I offer a bit of a different perspective on the end-of-pontifical-ministry decisions made by these two great Popes, as proferred by a gentleman on one of the programs carried by your great WQOP radio station.
    Just as cerebral as Pope Benedict XVI is in resigning at this time because of his ill health . . . in response to what he sees as the needs of the Church and the world, our -- now Blessed -- Pope John Paul the Great may have made a similar cerebral decision -- a very courageous and painful decision -- to not resign the papacy also because of what he perceived as the needs of the Church and the world.
    At a time when, because of his illness with Parkinson's disease, John Paul II may well have wanted to resign, he chose instead to show the world that a human being, even at the end of life, still has dignity . . . just as he had instructed us with the teachings of Pope Paul VI's Encyclical Humanae Vitae--The Gospel of Life.
    In the spring of 2005, the Church and the world were following, with great intensity, the lives of two human beings.
    In Florida, a young woman was suffering from altered consciousness that disabled her from taking food and fluids by mouth. She was being given life-giving nutrition and fluids through a simple gastric feeding-tube. In spite of the pleadings of her birth family to be able to take care of her, a U.S. court eventually ordered the blatant removal of the feeding-tube that provided life-giving nutrition and fluids for Terri Schindler Schiavo.
    John Paul II, in spite of the physical limitations imposed on him by Parkinson's disease, continued in his papal role. He was given, and accepted, help for his physical limitations.
    At a time when the Church and the world were watching the horrendous decision of a U.S. court to allow the murder of the young woman by removing the simple gastric feeding-tube, John Paul II showed the Church and the world that, in spite of disability, life has meaning.
    Terri Schindler Schiavo and Pope John Paul II died within three days of each other . . . Terri on March 31, 2005; Pope John Paul the Great on April 2, 2005.
    + Requiescant in pace!!! +

    Grateful for WQOP!!!
    Ann O'Hara

    PS1: On this 16th Anniversary of WQOP, may God continue to bless you and all you do for us through your life sustaining and renewing Catholic Radio Ministry, radiating us with truth, and encouraging us with the realization that our lives have meaning!!!
    PS 2: Thank you, too, for carrying the messages from a direct descendent of the Apostles -- our very own Shepherd -- Bishop Felipe de Jesus Estevez . . . It is very uplifting to know how much he wants to be with us.

  2. I read with interest and was touched by your blog this morning.

    I have just listened to the Vatican bells ringing and watched the helicopter carrying Pope Benedict flying away as he leaves the papacy and slips into a life of prayer and quiet. It was a stunning sight, one not seen ever before. It is my hope that among the many reasons to thank and glorify Pope Benedict, we include his wise and difficult decision to step down. He is now a role model for so many others who need to come to grips with the truth of their age and physical limitations to truly lead. He is to be completely admired for this, as well as for the many reasons you pointed out in your blog, Ray: His intellect, his sacrifices, his outreach efforts, his sincere and humble apologies to those wronged by the clergy, while offering aid and assistance to the victims. He ruled during a difficult time for the Church, yet he left it better than he found it. In retirement he will be remembered, admired and respected as a man who tried to honor both God and the people. He carried the burdens of his calling well and has now stepped aside for a new pope, who will make his own mark on the papacy and on the world, both Catholic and otherwise.

    Good blog! It was so kind and grateful to Pope Benedict, recognizing his strengths, weaknesses, and sacrifices. Well done!