Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Pope's red shoes

The news is filled with opinions regarding the Pope as he trades his red shoes for a pair of brown loafers. (Are they from Wolverine World Wide?) That, not necessarily being as important as his resignation seems to me to get a bit too much air time. We are witnessing an event which hasn't happened in many centuries and although not catastrophic, signals a change of the guard for millions of Catholics. Regardless of faith affiliation, almost everyone in the world knows who the pope is and how keenly he is observed when it comes to religious leadership. Commentators from each end of the spectrum and everywhere in between offer their own spin on the effect this will have on the church. Interesting too, how so many that have no connection whatsoever to Peter's direct successor or a religious affiliation of their own feel they are knowledgeable enough to make such an infinite amount of assumptions. From laughing at the idea of such traditions as the red shoes, to offering advice as to how the next pope should direct the faithful. Arm chair coaches. We all have a tendency to be one of those from time to time don't we?

Today, as person of faith, I meditate on just how small and often insignificant I am in the scope of things. It would be easy for me to criticise the red shoes, they aren't really fashionable in my eyes. But then, they aren't meant to be, possibly they are meant to be shocking in some way, just like the pope. What would I do if I walked in his shoes for a time? How seriously would I take the tenets of God's own church? In my opinion, Pope Benedict is doing an incredibly unselfish thing. So often leaders simply hang on and on, well past their ability to be effective, essentially becoming simply a figurehead. The pope is not a figurehead. The faith of millions of catholics around the world is not based upon a man wearing red shoes. To us catholics, faith is based on the beliefs of rights and wrongs given to us over 2000 years ago by Jesus Christ. The popes down through the centuries along with the other leaders of the church, have been the protectors of those beliefs in a world of conflict and and diverse cultural perspectives. That is the immense responsibility of the office of pope in a nutshell. Red shoes or not, that's a heavy weight to carry. Pope Benedict saw his inability to carry on that tradition and acted on it. I admire that. We need someone strong, mentally, physically and especially spiritually.

Today I pray for Pope Benedict to have peace and be confident in his decision. Today I ask for God to give the College of Cardinals divine inspiration to bring us the spiritual leader we need. Someone to protect the truth with all the resources available. Someone to cleanse the church and make it Holy. Someone who is not afraid to wade into controversy and remain true to the word. Our faith is not based on a man in red shoes, our faith is based on the truth. Some things are right, some things are wrong. Pope Benedict sees that too. By resigning he is doing his part in moving God's own Church forward as it should. I look forward to seeing just who's feet those shoes go on now. History in the making. For now, I will sit down, shut up, and hang on. All those commentators will certainly have much to say about it.

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