When I heard of Pope Benedict’s resignation, after I got over that popes actually could resign, I thought of Henry Cloud’s book, Necessary Endings.
The pope’s historic decision is a surprise to many. I am prayerful for the church that Benedict leads, that it may be pastored by its Good Shepherd. Whatever the implications of the pope’s choice, the differences between him and previous bishops of Rome as they’ve faced physical decline and increasing responsibility, I hope it also turns into a model of courage, an example of how catholics discern. May it be that for us non-catholics, too.
Here’s a quote from Dr. Cloud; may it be helpful as we pray for our catholic brothers and sisters and for the entire church community:
Something about the leaders’ personal makeup gets in their way. Leaders are people, and people have issues that get in the way of the best-made ideas, plans, and realities. And when it comes to endings, there is no shortage of issues that keep people stuck.
Somewhere along the line, we have not been equipped with the discernment, courage, and skills needed to initiate, follow through, and complete these necessary endings. We are not prepared to go where we need to go. So we do not clearly see the need to end something, or we maintain false hope, or we just are not able to do it. As a result, we stay stuck in what should now be in our past.