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Norbert Bufka

Author  ·  Historian

Benedict XVI is retired and not the Pope

Pope Benedict XVI retired in 2013, the first time a pope did such in over 600 years. There are no guidelines for him to follow. But it seems to me that once he left the papal office, he should keep his mouth shut or make only general comments about issues in the Church. To do otherwise is disruptive, especially when we consider the deep division in the Roman Catholic Church and many traditionalists support him. He is the co-author of a book in which he says the Church must not allow married men to be priests, although after the book was announced, he said he wanted his name off as an author. He still claims however that the Church must retain the celibate model of priestbood, even though priests were allowed to marry for nearly the first 1200 years of Christianity.  Why then did he allow Anglican married priests to become Catholic and continue their ministry? Why then is a priests allowed to be married in the Eastern rite of the Catholic Church?

Did Pope Benedict’s statement invluence Pope Francis in his just released letter on the Amazon (Querida Amazonia)? In this letter he did not open the door to married men being ordained priests in the Amazon as the Synod on Amazon wanted. On the other hand he did not close the door on married priests nor women deacons.

The Church needs to be open to possibilities, not boxed in by worn out tradition and human precepts.  In keeping with Pope Francis’ teaching, he wants the whole church to engage in discernment regarding ordained ministry and not make a decision for one area of the Church.

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