|(Photo by Antiedipo)|
Both pontiffs made the courageous decision to choose a more peaceful existence during their twilight years. Celestine cited "the desire for humility, for a purer life, for a stainless conscience, the deficiencies of his own physical strength, his ignorance, the
perverseness of his people, his longing for the tranquility of his former life" as reasons for his resignation. Benedict cited failing strength of "mind and body" as the reason for his "incapacity to adequately fulfill" his current ministry.
Hopefully, here is where the comparison ends and the peaceful retirement of Benedict begins.
Celestine's decision was met with a great deal of hostility. Wikipedia reports that he was not allowed to remain in his beloved solitude. To prevent any feared competition from a living ex-pope, the new Pope Boniface VIII had him imprisoned in a castle located 65 km from Rome. Celestine died there 10 months later (some believe that he was murdered).
Benedict has often indicated that he, too, longs for a more reclusive life. However, NBC News recently
asked: What's next: Can Pope Benedict really quietly retire? Thus far we don't know much. Nevertheless, "a brief statement Monday from the Vatican" said that Benedict will eventually "take up residence in a former cloistered monastery in the Vatican."
May the blessed peace that he seeks be with him there.
Copyright February 15, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved