Ab­di­ca­tion ‘will mod­ernise pa­pacy’

The Church of England - - NEWS -

THE AB­DI­CA­TION of Pope Bene­dict XVI will mod­ern­ize the pa­pacy, the former Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury Lord Wil­liams be­lieves, and will in­vig­o­rate the call to ser­vice to the church and the world for the oc­cu­pant of the chair of St Peter.

In an in­ter­view broad­cast on 12 Fe­bru­ary Lord Wil­liams, the Master of Mag­da­lene Col­lege Cam­bridge, stated Bene­dict’s res­ig­na­tion may “de­mys­tify the pa­pacy,” chal­leng­ing the view the “pope is not like a sort of God King who goes on to the very end.”

The “min­istry of ser­vice that the Bishop of Rome ex­er­cises is just that, a min­istry of ser­vice and it’s there­fore rea­son­able to ask if there is a moment when some­body else should take that ba­ton in hand,” he said.

Bene­dict’s de­ci­sion serves to re­mind the Chris­tian world of the “prim­i­tive po­si­tion of the bishop of Rome as the ser­vant of the unity of the Church, of the bishop who con­venes, me­di­ates be­tween, man­ages the fel­low­ship of the bish­ops, that slightly more func­tional, slightly less the­o­log­i­cally top-heavy pic­ture, that may be one of the things that emerges from this.”

While the process to ap­point a new Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury took al­most six months, the Catholic Church’s Apos­tolic Con­sti­tu­tion calls for a Con­clave of Car­di­nals to be­gin within 20 days but not be­fore 15 days, fol­low­ing the dec­la­ra­tion the chair of St Peter was “sede va­cante”. How­ever, Vat­i­can press spokesman Fr Fed­erico Lom­bardi said last week the Con­clave could start within 10 days of the date of the Pope’s for­mal res­ig­na­tion – 28 Fe­bru­ary in light of the un­usual cir­cum­stances of the Pope’s ab­di­ca­tion.

As of 28 Jan­uary, 118 car­di­nals were el­i­gi­ble to vote for the next pope – 62 Euro­peans, 19 South Amer­i­cans, 14 North Amer­i­cans, 11 Africans, 11 Asians and 1 from the Pa­cific. The largest na­tional group of car­di­nals is Italy with 28, fol­lowed by the US with 11, Ger­many with 6 and Spain and Brazil with 5.

Lord Wil­liams said the an­nounce­ment “wasn’t a to­tal sur­prise, I think be­cause in our last con­ver­sa­tion I was very con­scious that he was recog­nis­ing his own frailty and it did cross my mind to won­der whether this was a step he might think about.”

In re­tire­ment he hoped Bene­dict would re­turn to writ­ing. “We look for some more pro­found and re­flec­tive the­ol­ogy from him, of the kind that’s made his en­cycli­cals so won­der­fully fruit­ful as a re­source for the whole Chris­tian fam­ily.”

He added that he had shared with Bene­dict his plans to re­tire be­fore the news was shared with the Angli­can Com­mu­nion. “I’d spo­ken to him be­fore I’d an­nounced my res­ig­na­tion ear­lier in the year, so we shared some re­flec­tions on the pres­sures of of­fice and, yes, we spoke about the prom­ise of be­ing able to do a bit more think­ing, and pray­ing… be­cause by the grace of God we’ve en­joyed a warm re­la­tion­ship, so it was pos­si­ble for me to share that with him ear­lier in the year.”

Lord Wil­liams agreed Bene­dict’s res­ig­na­tion might well fur­ther the call made by John Paul II in Ut Unum Sint to re­think the pa­pacy in the ser­vice of unity for all Chris­tians. “It will be very in­ter­est­ing to see,” he told Vat­i­can Ra­dio, adding “I think we have yet to work through all the im­pli­ca­tions of Ut Unum Sint and if this is a stim­u­lus to do some more work on that, I’d say well and good.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.