The heart of this simple sinful man aches today as our Church bides the Holy Father a prayerful farewell from the visible throne of Peter.
It is often said that we rarely appreciate those who are in our midst until they are no longer with us. No doubt, this will be the sentiment with respect to Benedict XVI, although he will remain prayerfully united with His beloved Church and his flock for as long as God wills it. His greatest sufferings and most magnificent sacrifices, I suspect, are yet to come.
He has taken the Ship of Peter as far as God has asked Him. He has reclaimed the Sacred Liturgy. He has called his priests and Bishops to repentance, to faithfulness, and to selfless holy lives centered on a deep and unfailing love of the Eucharist and an insatiable zeal for the salvation of souls. Nothing, absolutely nothing else, is more important and necessary for our Church during these troubling times.
There is only room in Christ’s Church for holy and obedient priests and Bishops – men willing to make the Eucharist the center of everything they do and to give their lives to teach, defend and protect God’s Truth and His Church. The “filth’ which His Holiness found had infiltrated the Catholic Church must be exposed and removed. This purifying process will be a difficult and painful one. Let us not delude ourselves.
It is also time for the rest of us professing Catholics to examine the “filth” in our lives that has prevented us from living out our Faith courageously and unapologetically. We too must plea for the grace to persevere in our Faith whatever persecutions are likely to come. We can not ask our priests and Bishops to do something we are unwilling to assume ourselves.
May the Holy Spirit bring forth a successor to our beloved and courageous Pontiff – though only a mere man like Benedict – one who will embrace and not shy away from being “another Christ,” and who, if necessary, will offer his life for the salvation of souls and for the restoration of Christ’s Church on earth.