Rose West wrote:
...my second thought was that this is not a man who would be in error about something like this. He's too learned and too well steeped in how things are supposed to be done.
Once I jumped that hurdle, my thoughts are a bit sad....
How did you jump that hurdle? I'm still trying to digest the news and I'm feeling very sad.
I don't want to speculate, but there seems to be more to the issue of old age and frail health and "deteriorating strength of mind and body" that the Pope disclosed. And I can't help looking at the words (in translation) of his abdication notice.
What could the words,"shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith" mean? Normally, I don't want to delve too deeply into such mysteries, but somehow my heart goes out to him and I'm praying, praying, praying for our Pope.
There had been signs, and he himself admits that there are crisis too “terrifying.” He had said that the greatest persecution of the church comes not from external attacks but from sin within the church.
Let me give what could be some little pieces of the puzzle:
1. The vision of Blessed Jacinta of Fatima of a Pope inside a big room. He is praying and weeping and being violently stoned by his persecutors. Outside are a lot of people who hate him and are expressing their anger at him.
2. To show that it can't be just a conspiracy theory, let me refer to two opposing newspapers - probably the first time they ever agreed on anything. From the left - a report from Fr. Z's favorite fishwrap on Pope Benedict's visit to Fatima. And from the right - an article in the Rad Trad publication, The Remnant. It seems that both sides agree that Pope Benedict may have been fighting lions and dragons around him. (Sorry about the figures of speech, but I have just been practicing the chant "Qui Habitat" for the First Sunday of Lent and there are images of lions and dragons in that psalm.)
"Benedict's insistence that the real problem is internal seemed to distance the pope from other senior Vatican officials, who in recent weeks have blamed the media and other parties for unjust criticism of the Catholic church," writes John L Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter. And quoting Pope Benedict, Allen continues:
"In terms of what we today can discover in this (Fatima) message, attacks against the pope or the church don’t come just from outside the church. The suffering of the church also comes from within the church, because sin exists in the church. This too has always been known, but today we see it in a really terrifying way. The greatest persecution of the church doesn’t come from enemies on the outside, but is born in sin within the church. The church thus has a deep need to re-learn penance, to accept purification, to learn on one hand forgiveness but also the necessity of justice. Forgiveness does not exclude justice.
"With regard to this great vision of the suffering of the popes...other realities are indicated which over time will develop and become clear. Thus it’s true that beyond the moment indicated in the vision, one speaks about and sees the necessity of suffering by the church. It’s focused on the person of the pope, but the pope stands for the church, and therefore sufferings of the church are announced." --NCR, 5/11/2010
From the Remnant:
"Has Pope Benedict been driven from office by the wolves he feared when his Pontificate began? Recall his momentous words in the sermon during the Mass for what the conciliar neo-modernists refuse to call his coronation, but rather an “inauguration,” as if the Pope were a mere elected official: “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.” Among the wolves are, as always, the numberless external enemies of the Church, many of whom demanded precisely that he resign...
"But we can be certain that the wolves the Pope has in view are preeminently the ones nearest to him, encircling him within the very confines of a Vatican bureaucracy that has crushed the monarchical papacy under the massive machinery of an ecclesiastical democracy installed during the post-conciliar revolution, with its “collegiality” and its “reform” of the Roman Curia. I am reminded here of Bishop Fellay’s revelation that during his audience with Pope Benedict at Castel Gondolfo in August 2005, he pleaded with the Pope to take action to restore the Church fully: “You are the Pope!” said Bishop Fellay (in substance) when the two of them were left alone for a moment. But the Pope, pointing to the door of the room in which the audience took place, replied forlornly: “My authority ends at that door.”
"And what is outside that door? The wolves in the Pope’s own household. The Pope himself confirms a veritable overthrow of the papacy to the extent such is humanly possible." By Christopher A. Ferrara, 2/11/13REMNANT
3. From the prophesies of Our Lady's apparition in Akita, Japan. (The apparition has been approved by the Church; but the messages are still being determined.)
it was given to Sister Agnes Sasagawa on October 13, 1973:
"My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you," Mary allegedly told the Japanese novice. "You will inform your superior. As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms that will remain for you will be the Rosary and Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the pope, the bishops, and the priests.
"The work of the devil will infiltrate even the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate Me will be scorned and opposed by their conferees…churches and altars sacked, the Church will be full of those who accept compromise and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of My sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them."