On Monday February 11th, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will step down at the end of the month, for health reasons. While the resignation is significant for its rarity, WYSO’s Jerry Kenney reports that it could be a sign of the times.
Pope Benedict is the first Pope in 600 years to step down as head of the Catholic Church. Historically Popes have served until the time of their death, but Sister Angela Ann Zukowski with the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives at the University of Dayton says that, while the resignation remains a shock to some, the idea of Popes retiring has at least been a part of theological discussion for decades.
“The Holy Fathers are living longer and the world we live in is a little more complex in it’s constituency.”
Sister Angela Ann believes the Catholic Church may look at leadership a little differently as they seek to elect the next Pope. A change in perspective that stems from challenges both within the church and from outside the church.
“Because of social media networking, because of all the digital technologies, we know, we know and more immediately the world we are dealing with. So someone who is in leadership needs to have the kind of kaleidoscope view, or perspective – a lens that can capture all of the different dimensions of what’s going on in the world and ask some prophetic questions of how is the church to respond in all of these situations today.”
Sister Angela Ann Zukowski with the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives at the University of Dayton. She says, for Catholics today, what matters most is what vision of the World The Church’s next Pope will have.