For the fifth time (at least) in the history of the Church, the pope is throwing in the towel. The essential element of each act of legally valid abdication -- including the current pope's -- is his freely expressed will.
I received an MBA from Assumption College in the spring of 1993, and it is with absolute clarity that I formally renounce my Assumption MBA. Based on the Pope's recent egregious accusations about gay people and gay marriage, I can no longer have any affiliation in my life to the Catholic Church.
I wince every time I hear a drive-by commentator on Benedict XVI refer to him as narrow or "hard-line" or "conservative," as if political boxes or strictly worldly categories could capture what is true about this man, or about the contents of the Catholic faith.
Benedict has appointed a majority of the cardinals who will elect his successor, and the vast majority of bishops around the world were named by either Benedict or his equally anti-gay predecessor. Popes tend to appoint prelates who share their views.
It will really take a miracle, the suffusion of the College by the Holy Spirit, the Interbreathing Spirit of all life, to change the Church by election of a pope more in the tradition of Jesus and John XXIII.