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January 30, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Comparing the pope and the president

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Americans think our presidents have the toughest job in the world. But is that right? On the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes, Pope Benedict XVI recently announced his resignation effective Feb. 28, explaining that his age and health preclude it. The media reported this as a historical event. Why? Popes serve for life. Presidents serve eight years, if re-elected. By law, there is a transition for the president, if incapacitated, to hand over the reins of governance to the vice president. Not popes. At 78 years old, he might be considered too old for the presidency. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope at 78.

The current president leads 315 million Americans. Pope Benedict XVI leads more than 1 billion Catholics worldwide. The president has to unite divided factions in two major parties in one country. The pope has to unite factions from all over the world with different governments, cultures, customs and people. As the vicar of Christ on Earth, and the successor to St. Peter, Pope Benedict XVI can’t submit his resignation to God.

As a holy man in his own right, Pope Benedict XVI lived in the shadow of one of the holiest men of our times: Blessed Pope John Paul II, sometimes called “the Great.” In a single act of human frailty, Pope Benedict XVI showed us his greatness.

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  1. The Pope's reasons for resigning include his advancing age and his failing health. I agree with his decision. Perhaps, with the passing of his generation, the church can begin advancing into the 21st century. There may be a billion Catholics under his supervision, but more and more of them are finding the dogma of the church less palatable to their every day reality. Birth control and divorce are now mainstream, against the teachings of the church. For brevity I will not go into the many problems that go unaddressed by the church leaders.

    It is my hope that the Cardinals elect a new pope as soon as possible, and one who is far younger than Benedict, and more in tune with the realities facing the church and it's adherents.

  2. It's an opportunity for the Catholic Chuech to abandon its thousand year old patriarchal traditions that have nothing to do with the teachings of Christ

  3. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  4. I have good news and bad news from the Vatican about the next pope. First, the good news. God has already selected the next pope. Now the bad news. The College of Cardinals [117 strong] has to figure out who among them it is. By March 17! No pressure.


  5. That was a very compassionate way to treat this comparison. I also found that the Pope did the right thing, many times when the chips are down, one finds the strength to make that great move that changes history.

    Blessings and Peace,

  6. Who says the Catholic church is not changing? Pope Benedict XVI is the first pope to retire from his office effective Feb.28,2013 for age and health reasons. In the year of 1415 Pope Gregory XII retired at that time. That was 598 years ago. Times seem to be changing in all walks of life.The Catholic Church is no exception.Time is of the essence.