The pope, Benedict XVI (#266), is unlikely to resign despite what appears to be increasingly damaging allegations as to his tacit involvement in trying to actively cover up clerical sexual abuse when he was the Archbishop of Munich and later on, as Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (once the infamous Inquisition).
The pope does not have to resign.
The pope as Vicarius Christi (Vicar [i.e., substitute] of Christ) is not inclined or obliged to rationalize his behavior to any mortals. He operates on a different plane.
All of the ongoing outcry, ably amplified by the media, is but bagatelle to the pope. Mere chatter by the unwashed.
He only answers to one, and that ONE, right now, rightly or wrongly, explicably or inexplicably, seems to be unconcerned about what has taken place. It is simple as that.
Victims, large sections of the congregation and the media are zeroing in on the pope. But, the pope has to feel and believe that he, in the eye’s of his one and only ‘boss,’ has done nothing wrong. That is the dilemma, but a dilemma for us, but not for the pope. He doesn’t have to resign. His life and his job is in the hands of God. God will do what is appropriate.
I cherish credibility. But, I flirt with fallibility on an hourly basis. Credibility, however, is not important to the pope. He rules by fiat. He is not a term-limited President or Prime Minister. He is pope for life.
This scandal should damage his credibility, but, when you are pope what does credibility mean? Absolutely nothing. You can continue to say and do whatever you want. Dictators, over the years, must have tossed and turned at night, wishing they had the absolute autocratic powers enjoyed by a pope.
As long as he stays within the bounds of his Vatican City State, the pope is invincible. The twenty-first century world is way, way too civilized and savvy to violate the sanctity of the Holy See. Armies marching onto Vatican, once a fairly common occurrence, is now but history. He may end up the latest Prisoner of the Vatican, but that is no great hardship, especially at his age.
Way back in 502, Pope St. Symmachus (#51) succeeded in establishing that a pope can only be judged by God. It may be possible to appeal this to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, but the pope will always be immune as long as he stays within the city limits of his own private City State.
This is all very sad and frustrating. But, we do not see this the way the pope sees it. He sees things differently. That is a given. He has a mandate, without parallel. He would not have been elected pope if the Holy Spirit had any issues with his past! It is simple as that. Now he is pope, he will continue to enjoy the extensive prerogatives of that post until his one and only ‘boss’ decides what he should do next. Think about it.
Grace, and may peace be with YOU.