Pope’d Out

You know, like pooped out? OK, well I thought I was hilarious.

So, if you’re like me, you woke up this morning like normal, expecting a normal lack-of-sleep related morning as you attempt to bring that coffee cup closer to your mouth while simultaneously reading twitter and actively not spilling on the keyboard, when your lazy sleep-deprived eyes roll over the news: Pope Benedict the XVI is abdicating the role of Pope.

Saay whaaaaa?!

No coffee yet to help discern whether this is a dream or reality….plan B: “Uhhhhh….ANDY!”

We all know by now that yes, he is ‘retiring’ as Pope as of Feb. 28th and that the college of Cardinals will be convoked to a Conclave to elect a new Bishop of Rome (wow, that could be an intimidating sentence if this hadn’t just been all over the media). And know what the only thing I can think about now is? Does this mean we will have two Popes? A very different situation than when we previously had two Popes. Then *ahem* three. Thankfully I think we can rest assured that there is no vengeance or armies at play in our future here this time. I hope. Still, it’s just a strange occurance.

So, after briefing with Andy about the morning news (um, several times today), I’m starting to breathe again. And now, it’s nearly 11pm at night. I survived the day. This is good. Obviously, if I can survive, the church will survive, right? Or is it the other way around…

I can’t help but find amusement in reading the media reports about this event. At first, I was all like, ‘Ha! What do they know?!’ ‘Why are they quoting some ‘expert’ who is a historian and not going to a Catholic theologian?’ and, of course ‘They just clearly have absolutely no idea how our church works! They look like fools trying to be experts in this!’

Oh, but wait…while it is true that they look kind of like fools, and it is true that they are going to experts who really don’t have a great sense of how our church works, and it is true that they don’t really know much, is that a surprise? In a world that loves to hate us (when it comes to many of our teachings), it’s not surprising that they are getting things wrong and that they look like amateurs (my favourite are the predictions). But it’s not something to scorn them of, as much as it feels like we have that right to do so. At some point, even this world recognises how such an event impacts everyone – many of those who pay for their news to be printed. And for once, we are in the same boat as they are – this type of event has not happened in recent history and we’re all learning (or re-learning, for the learnĂ©d). But being a part of this great Church gives us the scope and terminology that the world doesn’t have. They, not being a part of it, are grappling to fit this event into some sort of coherence; something that fits how they view the world. So I’ve found myself feeling more sympathy to their terminology, like when they ask ‘Who’s in the running?’ and calling certain Cardinals ‘contenders’ (my favourite line was a newscast agent, while showing on a map where some of these ‘contenders’ are from said that the church is really ‘expanding itself around the world,’ like it’s a new thing). They just don’t see things the way that we do. I believe that Cardinal Collins had it right when he was questioned by CBC: “Cardinal Collins would not comment on the speculation that Ouellet could be among the frontrunners to succeed Benedict, saying it is too early to consider who will replace the pontiff. He said now is the time for the Catholic Church to reflect on what it needs, not who should lead.”

While finding a quick chuckle in the way the media casts the event, it’s also revealing – they will not likely ever understand the way I do, but this, through the media, has been a crazy opportunity of evangelisation.

I don’t know what God is planning for us, but I know the Spirit is leading us. I trust in God’s Spirit, and I know that things will turn out all right. But some days, I just need more coffee. And today? Well, I’m clearly Pope’d out.