When and if the new pope elect happens to be Italian, those who follow Bible prophecy have a reason to be concerned — and it does seem likely.
Benedict XVI, in short, knew what could happen to one who rebelled against a centuries-old tradition in a church in which suffering is far from foreign. But he also knew that it wasn’t just a matter of his own suffering — it was a matter of the exhaustion, weakness and sickness of the church at large.
The pope from Bavaria has given up. Nevertheless, when he announced his resignation last Monday, hastily and almost casually mumbling the words as if he were saying a rosary, as if he were returning the keys to a rental car rather than the keys to St. Peter, there was still a sense of how deeply his move has shaken the Catholic empire.
Archbishop of Berlin Rainer Maria Woelki calls it a “demystification of the papal office.” Already, he says, the pope’s resignation has changed the church. Continue reading