On the very day of the unexpected announcement by Pope Benedict of his retirement, I glance outside my window: a white blanket of snow shrouds the entire landscape.
In a way this recalls me of what I read from that saint of the early Church, who described life in Christian Palestine. He wrote with admiration about how the mother land of Jesus seemed to have been preserved in perfect peace and quiet, receiving a special gift of Grace: even nature, exemplified by small birds tweeting on trees, displayed a serene harmony...
I’m the kind of guy who wanted to get (or maybe design) a Ratzinger t-shirt before last conclave even began.
Now I’m contemplating the exceptional humility implied by his leaving. Apologizing for his own shortcomings even while a lot of nobodies were standing right in front of him. He’s accepting to go down in history as a lesser figure, in a world where fewer and fewer people could be considered his intellectual peers. A world full of troglodytes spewing hatred and anger, labeling everything without understanding anything.
To borrow an image from physics, the spring is loaded and close to the point of maximum extension.
That’s why I think the next conclave is one of the most crucial moments in Church history, with unprecedented pressure exerted on the Cardinals from external forces. By consequence, one where the intervention of the Holy Spirit will be necessary and far reaching.
I believe Ratzinger understood very well the danger represented by progressive vultures scheming to influence and damage our Church from the interior, with the intent of upending fundamental doctrines, counting on taking advantage of his old age and expected future illnesses and weakness. As a German living in Italy he knows football very well, so he chose to counter their schemes with the classic tactical move that is called contropiede (sudden counter-attack).