Yesterday morning I was astonished to hear, along with the rest the world, via my AP News app on my phone that Benedict XVI is parking the Popemobile — permanently.
It seems unreal. Popes don’t resign! Popes pope until they poop out. There’s HISTORY here! Not since 1415 has one of them just decided, “eh, I’ve had enough of this gig. I no longer wish to preside over my own country and live in the Freaking Vatican.”
“Also, I wish for my head to be removed from the Pope Room tables at Buca di Beppo.”
Seriously, how could you give that up?
And then there’s the red shoes. I know, I know. I’ve made this point before. So sue me — shoes are an absorbing topic. And look what I found at the Pope Shoes Tumblr. (Can you believe it? a Tumblr devoted to Pope shoes?)
The pontiff was given this selection when he was touring Mexico last March. I ask you — how does one literally walk away from a job where people give you rooms full of shoes just for showing up?
All kidding aside, it’s because of his advanced age that Benedict has decided to give up the Holy Ghost. Early speculation had it that he determined that Pope John Paul II’s long years of decline were not a history he wanted to repeat. Sayeth the Associated Press:
Declaring that he lacks the strength to do his job, Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday he will resign Feb. 28 – becoming the first pontiff to step down in 600 years. His decision sets the stage for a mid-March conclave to elect a new leader for a Roman Catholic Church in deep turmoil.
The 85-year-old pope dropped the bombshell in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, surprising even his closest collaborators even though he had made clear previously that he would step down if he became too old or infirm to carry on.
In Benedict’s own words:
“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited” to the demands of being the pope, he told the cardinals.
“In order to govern the bark (ship) of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary – strengths which in the last few months, have deteriorated in me,” he said.
Now that everyone’s read The Davinci Code, there’s going to be several weeks of intense interest in Rome. Will plots be hatched? Will the fate of the world hinge on a decision of the College of Cardinals? Will Tom Hanks be involved?
We’ll all just have to wait for the other shoe to drop.