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I do believe that Benedict is a good man, if entrenched in tired church doctrine, with exceptions, and I also believe he, like so many others, love the church. It’s an organization after all. People can love places they work or go to hang out and I get that, but I don’t see me ever worshiping a boss, or bowing to a bartender. There are limits to what we should do, and having blind faith in an invisible being certainly pushes those limits.
How do we define faith? I might believe that unicorns, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin, are all powerful creatures that have long controlled the world. There is literature, like the Hebrew Bible, to support that premise. What about Aslan, the Great Lion, and central character of C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series? He was an all powerful, certainly majestic beast and according to the books, the ‘Lord’ of all he surveyed, so who is to say, when faith is the common denominator, whether God, the Unicorn or the Lion are “Lord?”
It’s Benedict XVI’s penultimate day of pontificating, and tens of thousands of the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for an emotional farewell in which the pope recalled the “great burden” God had given him in 2005 and noted that his papacy had weathered difficult moments when “it seemed like the Lord was sleeping.” But there were also “days of sun and light,” Sky News reports. Benedict said he wasn’t “coming down from the cross,” but that “to love the church means also to have the courage to take difficult, painful decisions, always keeping the good of the church in mind, not oneself.” He recalled “turbulent seas,” but said, “I always knew that the boat of the church is not mine, is not ours, but is his and he will not let it sink.”
The Vatican estimates the crowd hit 150,000, far exceeding the 50,000 who requested tickets for the pope’s last general audience, reports Reuters. The position will officially become vacant at 8pm tomorrow, after which the “pope emeritus” will cast aside his red shoes, switch to plain brown loafers, and head for the papal summer residence until renovations to a monastery inside the Vatican are complete.
No more red shoes? That’s it? What happens next will be interesting indeed, as the College of Cardinals gets together over coffee and holy water and decides the next Pope of the World, and that is an important decision indeed. As to who is the ‘Lord?’ I’ve got my money on Aslan. I’ve always loved lions.