Who knew the Pope could resign? It seemed like one of those deals you sign on for for life... or at least certainly had been for the last 600 years.
I woke up to the news of his resignation— or is it abdication? I’m not Catholic and I by no means want to lessen the impact of the news for Catholics for whom this is a tremendously significant development, but much of the media’s treatment of the situation made me chuckle.
Between the very real, serious efforts to figure out what his decision means and evaluate his legacy, there were several lighter elements to the story: No one seems to have any idea what to call him after he leaves at the end of this month as the most common term for a previous pope is "deceased." Is he still called Pope Benedict, just like an ex-president is still addressed as Mr. President? My favorite was a headline (I didn’t read the story) that questioned if Showtime’s series “The Borgias” might get a ratings bump when it returns. All I know is I doubt the new pope will be as dashing as Jeremy Irons, who plays Pope Alexander Vl on the show.
Someone also questioned if the Pope would still tweet, having recently become a new convert to the social media world. I follow him on Twitter, so do 1,534,931 others. His Twitter handle is @Pontifex. New York Magazine published “An Ode to Pope Benedict XVL’s Sassy Footwear.” Apparently, he wears Prada loafers. I guess everyone was looking for an angle to cover.
The Vatican will name a new pope by Easter, which is a good thing since it’s pretty important that there be a Papal leader for the highest holy day of the year for Christians, not just the 1 billion Catholics. Certainly don’t want an empty chair on that day. I also don’t know if there’s an interim pope. That would be a big, pointy hat to fill. I’m sure Las Vegas bookies are already taking odds on the top contenders and where he will be from. South America seems to be leading on that one.
We’ll all have to look for the white smoke from the Vatican, a quaint way held over from hundreds of years of tradition, to find out when the convening voting cardinals have reached their decision. Or maybe the exiting Pope can just tweet that a successor has been named.
Today’s $10 goes to Catholic Charities USA, which is working to reduce poverty in America. If you’ve been following my blog even casually, you know that fighting poverty and the social injustices that accompanies it are two of my biggest areas of giving. CCUSA crusades to end both. One of the best parts about this blog is my research has lead me to some wonderful organizations, many of which are doing far more than I had ever known about. CCUSA is one of those.
Feb. 11: Catholic Charities USA: http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/
42 down, 323 to go!