On February 13, 2013, just days after the stunning announcement, Catholic historian Roberto de Mattei published a detailed reflection on Benedict XVI’s resignation of the papacy.
Mattei’s article, though nearly a decade old, contains an informative review of the specific power of jurisdiction of the papacy, distinct from the power of orders and from the limited jurisdiction of the bishops of the world, and rebukes theories that would reduce papal authority to a “primacy of honor.” Considering ongoing speculation over whether Pope Francis will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor by stepping down from the Chair of St. Peter, many of Mattei’s points are well-worth reflecting upon today.
Moreover, Mattei’s assessment of Church governance, sadly, still holds true today. Rather than meeting the challenges that Benedict XVI felt he no longer had the strength to address in 2013, Francis has exacerbated them. It remains to be seen whether the next pope will commit to steering the Barque of Peter away from the stormy waters of error, indifference, and liberalism that it has been riding for more than half-a-century.
Read the full article online here.