The major headline news story of the day is the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 28th. This isn't something we would ever expect to see in our lifetimes, considering the last time this happened was almost 600 years ago.
Given the shocking nature of this announcement, the rumors are already swirling. Initial coverage on CNN immediately questioned the impact of the Church's child abuse sex scandal on the Pope's decision. It's amazing how quickly some in the media are willing to discuss that possibility, while going to painstaking efforts to avoid sex scandals that involve Democrat politicians. The burgeoning sex scandal story involving Democrat Senator Robert Menendez is just the latest example of this.
If we accept his own reasoning as truth, Pope Benedict XVI says that he is resigning because of his advanced age and deteriorating health. Pope Benedict XVI's resignation letter said: “In today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
Many have described the move as a act of extraordinary “humility,” putting the needs of the Church above that of his own. Putting aside any personal feelings about this Pope, perhaps there is something we can learn from that in our own country. It is becoming a rarity in our society that people will act for the betterment of a great good, rather than for the furtherance of their own power. What has many Americans upset with our own government is the fact that power and prestige seems more important to politicians than solutions. Humility is a quality that I cannot say describes nearly anyone currently representing us in Washington. They seem to have forgotten that they derive their power from the consent of the governed – We the People. If the Pope's explanation is true, and I personally have no reason to believe otherwise, then the news is noteworthy not just because of the shakeup it will cause within the Catholic Church but because it demonstrates a quality that is lacking within our own political sphere and society.