Benedict has been a pope of surprises. Perhaps the cardinals expected a nice, quiet papacy after the long reign of John Paul II, so they elected Benedict, who was nearly as old as JPII when the latter died. This sounds like the start of Pope John XIII’s reign, right? Well, all that supposedly transitional pope did was call Vatican II. Benedict didn’t call a council, but he was just as busy in his reign.
Benedict freed up the Latin Mass to be said more often. He wrote books. He continued his scholarly work. He started tweeting. He traveled as long as he could. And now, his latest surprise: he decided to leave to ensure, I suspect, there wouldn’t be an agonizing end, like with JPII, whose long death paralyzed the Vatican and left it unable to deal with a lot of challenges until Benedict took over. He’s left plenty to build on and emulate.
God bless this holy man. I suspect God will tell him, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” when he reaches his end. Let us all pray for his happy retirement and that his successor continues with his fine work.