TBD on Ning

It's a decision most people must make in their lives. Or perhaps it is a number of decisions. One such decision was announced yesterday, as one of the most recognizable figures in the world gave up his job. Pope Benedict XVI is resigning, a move not very often taken by a person who has been given a position for life. Presidents have said, “I do not choose to run.” Athletes have announced this will be their final season. And on a more universal note, people throughout the working world decide to take the offer their company has made and call it a career.

I call it “going out on a high note.” Your head is held high and you are proud of what you did and can accept the situation that you will no longer be doing that.  I made my decision in 1997, as I walked away with a generous retirement package and a souvenir book of my going away party.  I have never looked back. 

But sometimes I am sorry for those who have to hang up the gloves when they are not physically or emotionally ready. There was a president resigning his job in disgrace. Athletes struggle with their injuries and finally get taken out on a stretcher or don't make the team that final year. Workers receive lay-off notices long before they are through with their careers. And older folks need to work to survive, even though the jobs are few and far between.

It think it is a wonderful thing to be able to hang up the gloves before you ears are cauliflower shaped, your nose is bent in several directions and you hear ringing in your ears all the time. It is a shame to see pro football players using walkers when they once ran for touchdowns. It is also a shame to see a middle aged businessman who can't find a job or is too old to start over in another career.  The nation is full of them. 

I wish we all could be the Pope with a job for life but with the ability to walk away at any time we feel it is time to hang up the gloves.  I wonder if he will still be able to talk to God? 

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Comment by exedir on February 13, 2013 at 3:24pm

What this does is two things; one, an opportunity to church leadership to decide what direction they wish to take the church and two, show that there is more than one way to renew the church leadership without a death.

As the resignation of a president showed that there is an alternative to impeachment, so does the resignation of the Vicar of Christ that the power, prestige and infallibly can be laid down and picked up by someone else in the lifetime of a pope.  

It also introduces the question of what does god intend and how does a church respond when a temporal event happens that does not include mortality.  Is the transfer valid?  Can the eternal be reconciled to the here and now of the ability of a leader to lead and yet, require a change?

Comment by MGDJ on February 13, 2013 at 7:14am

If I am correct, I think he has decided to stay in Rome.  The Pope is more influential in world politics than the President of the United States.  There are 1.1 billion Catholics in the world.  I think that whoever is chosen next will benefit greatly from having another experienced leader around.  Many retired heads of corporations here in America are still actively involved in decision-making in their companies such as Bill Gates.  It is a noble thing to recognize our limitations and be able to hand off any measure of control we think we have to another generation. 

Comment by Mandy Muffin on February 12, 2013 at 6:00am

From the time of Peter, the death of the pope is supposed to represent the final sufferings of Jesus as he gave his life to save mankind.  But the Roman Catholic Church has grow to a billion members and has complex problems all over the world.  This takes a full time leader who is alert and capable.  I saw the pope being wheeled in to perform midnight mass this Christmas and the deterioration of his body was evident.  I think it is a smart decision to make on his part.  Jesus was 33 when he died.  He is in his mid-80s. 

I suppose he will spend the rest of his life getting ready to meet his maker but he might give the new pope a tour of the catacombs and show him where the bodies are buried.



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