Resignation of a Pope

Lutherans are not directly affected by Pope Benedict's resignation, so here is a reflection from a Roman Catholic, a sister of ours in Christ.

Grace Lutheran prays with the Roman Catholic Church as they listen to God's call for their next pope. 

What Happens When the 'See of Peter' is Vacant?

After nearly eight years since being named to the chair of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI announced this morning that he is resigning at the end of February.If you live in the post-Modern, post-Christendom uber-hip world, you might not understand the full weight of this morning's announcement. A pope hasn't "resigned" in 600 years.As a cradle Catholic who loves the church enough to fight with her when she fails to live up to her Gospel call, the words "the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant" are words that strike a dark loneliness in my stomach and soul. The shoes of the Fisherman must be filled. The bark of Christ must have a helmsman (or woman). The Holy Mother Church must have the one who groans in birth for the new Spirit loosed on the earth. It's not necessarily that I think a pope shouldn't resign — though it's a very hazardous and worldly decision. It's just that it happens so rarely. It calls us up short before the arc of Christian history. It's only happened about 10 times in 2,000 years — so you'll forgive our shock.
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