A well informed and valued contributor to this website wrote the following comment regarding the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI.

“His break with tradition by creating a Pope Emeritus position will, I am afraid, reflect poorly on him and perhaps eclipse that which he should be remembered for. We are in uncharted territory here and it has thrown the Church into pandemonium after the Galen mafia got their man elected and Benedict XVI’s silence is deafening during these difficult and confusing times.

I write as an Anglican, but I can fully appreciate and go along with what is obviously a deeply held conviction. Despite being a pastor of the Anglican Communion I was profoundly moved and impressed by Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK. He brought with him a refreshing Spirit of holiness and love to these islands. I watched  each day on BBC TV his visits and celebrations of the Mass

His holiness  visited England and Scotland on a four-day Papal visit from 16-19 September 2010. The Holy Father flew initially to Scotland where he was received by Her Majesty The Queen. Later he celebrated a public Mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. In England, amongst other things, His Holiness made a speech to British civil society at Westminster Hall, met with the leaders of other Christian traditions, took part in a service of Evening Prayer with the Archbishop of Canterbury, led a prayer vigil, met with leaders and people of other faiths and beatified the nineteenth century theologian and educationalist Blessed John Henry Newman.

He represented for me all that his Divine Office implied. I was therefore disappointed and not a little shocked when he announced that he was retiring. It didn’t seem right. I couldn’t have imagined St Peter retiring as Chief Pastor of the Apostolic Church. Surely the keys were given to Pope Benedict for his life time as the successor of St Peter? Should he have passed them on to someone else?

Has the Papacy been devalued? Belonging to the Anglo Catholic wing of the Church of England I have to some extent looked to the Papacy as the upholder of the faith “once delivered to the saints.” How will history judge him?


Pope Benedict giving Benediction.