Should I care about this event? There's a big retirement that's been announced. But the direct impact on my life will likely be as small as the impact of the last Royal wedding in Britain.

Protestant that I am, I like to pay attention to the Catholic church and its teachings. The teachings of the Catholic church are the result of two millennia of apostles, philosophers, scholars, and priests dealing with the questions of sin, forgiveness, repentance, and living a faithful life in a fallen world. It is rather hard to understand Protestant thought without gaining at least a sketch of Catholic though.

I also pay attention to the kind of people who run the church. The Catholic organization attempts to select men who exhibit a combination of spiritual insightfulness, organizational ability, and scholarly minds. The leaders of the church try to keep all three traits in balance as they select the men who sit in the College of Cardinals, and in the Papal seat. 

Not all the leaders of the Catholic church are saints. Nor even perfect.  (I've seen some scathing commentary from a retired priest about the organizational and structural problems that led to the blackest moment in the past century of the Catholic church. I cannot deny that evil things were done, and that punishment was delayed far beyond its proper time. God has His judgement of the matter; He is better-placed than I to deliver both justice and mercy.)

I don't know if I am sad to see Pope Benedict leave the office. There's evidence he's been contemplating retirement for some time. Like his predecessor, he will be missed. However, he appears to think that his role is not to gain fame or exert influence, but to continue a life of prayer.

I also pray; partly that the Catholic church finds the right replacement for the office of Pope. Partly that believers in Christ worldwide will be able to join into more unity than they currently have.

Partly that the sages and scholars of the present age will be drawn to the eternal wisdom that is available from God.

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