I am going to miss the thoughtful talks and sermons of Benedict XVI. Each day I checked out the VNS, the Vatican News Service, just to see what interesting take he would have on a gospel passage.
Recently, he has been talking about his retirement from the vantage point of service to the Church. He shared his soul with us, I think, when he talked about pouring out his life in papal ministry. There was much he had to do and little time to do the things that he wanted to do like read, reflect and write.
He has not complained. He just can’t do it anymore. The Church needs someone stronger these days, he reminds us.
The next pope will have to face the challenges of curial reform, the smoldering embers of sexual abuse in the Church, and the challenges of how to give impetus to the New Evangelization. The Church is growing rapidly in Africa and other areas of the Far East. The old european church is
fading fast and areas of the new world are right behind. Even Brazil which has the greatest number of Catholics of any country in the world is watching the growth of protestant churches.
I am sure concerns like these are in the hearts of most of the cardinals who are now preparing to enter the conclave. Meanwhile, we watch and pray that the Holy Spirit will descend upon the Church “…and with Ah! bright wings!” ( Gerard Manley Hopkins)