Pope Benedict’s recent resignation came as quite a shock to the nearly two billion Roman Catholics worldwide. A living pope has not stepped down from office since 1415, when Pope Gregory XII resigned during the Great Western Schism.
Joseph Ratzinger was 78 years old when he was elected pope in 2005, suffering from health problems such as arthritis, a stroke and other effects of old age. Eight years as the Bishop of Rome have taken their toll, yet he has accomplished much in that brief span of time. The pope certainly has his admirers and critics, and it is perhaps a bit early to examine his legacy; but he has certainly made an impact on the Roman Catholic community.
Peggy Bowes is a former Air Force pilot and the author of The Rosary Workout and Tending the Temple. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children.
Words to Guide the Faithful»