As with many of us, the resignation of Pope Benedict was a shock. With that shock, there is much awe. There is much to be thankful. Those who are not Roman Catholic, or are in communion with Rome, may not understand this and that is to be expected.
So, here is what I think are some of the important legacies of Pope Benedict.
First, the restoration of the Latin Mass. There were many out there who felt that the Mass in the vernacular – the one used in most parishes, including mine – was lacking. Although attendance may not be overflowing, many have been drawn to it. All are drawn to the altar and the focus on prayer. The distractions that you will find in most parishes, is not there.
Second, SSPX. This pontificate has attempted to bring the lost sheep back into the fold. It has been slow and difficult but headway was made. I hope that this will continue and not die.
Third, the “crossing of the Tiber.” Here we see the Pope establishing a way for those in the Anglican/Episcopal Church, who have been dissatisfied with the movement away from traditional marriage and the increase in active homosexual clergy and marriage, to join the Roman Catholic Church. Granted, there have not been millions joining, but there has been a slow and steady crossing of the Tiber to Rome.
Fourth, the constant reminder that it is we who must bend to Christ and the Church, and not the other way around. Unfortunately, LCWR, Call to Action, and VOTF (among others) just don’t seem to get it.
Finally, humility. He could have stayed on until he died, but he knows that as the Bishop of Rome, it is not about him. It is about the Church, which Christ founded and what is best for the Church is what is important.
Thank You Pope Benedict XVI.
Ad multos Annos!