Admittedly, I was a bit terrified when Pope Benedict IXV announced his abdication of the papacy. Immediately, I wondered what kind of threats the Vatican might be receiving. Then I realized that the Pope would prefer martyrdom to cowardice. Whew. That eliminates that theory.
I think we've all taken the papacy as a "til death do us part" agreement. But that was so before people lived as long as we do now. I certainly think its reasonable to set a precedent now, that our Holy Father not be expected to serve into such old age.
And Wednesday, oh how moved I was when the white smoke in Rome, signaled we had our Pope! Then Pope Francis greeted the crowd with his humble little wave, and asked us for prayer... And he chose to be named after Saint Francis of Assisi! The perfect papa!
We Catholics love him already! Somehow we know this is just the man to lead us at this time in history. Oh how I love my Church! Always true.
What's interesting is, now I'm dating a wonderful Christian man - not Catholic - who questions what I believe about the Church, ( not in a hostile way, just trying to understand) and I don't have sufficient answers for him. Yes, I know what I believe. I know why I believe. But I've believed what I believe for so long, I can't even understand why he questions it.
For example, he asks how we can call someone on earth "father", in contradiction to the bible. I explained that the Pope, our bishops and priests are vicars of Christ, His presence on earth. But that's not enough explanation. I accept it, he doesn't.
Oh, how do we do this? I even work with our RCIA class, and know the truth to share, but it's so rarely enough for someone who is not open to it.
Yes, we call him Father. And it is right and good.
I wish that could be enough.