The chair of Peter is vacant, but this in no way means that the Church has no head. The head of the Church has been, and will always be, Christ Jesus, our Lord. This period of Papal vacancy reminds Catholics of an important truth: that it is Christ who leads His Church – it is the Holy Spirit who guides Her.
We also must remember that it is Christ who commissioned his apostles to go into the world. It is Chist who, through his commissioning, gave the apostles the power to bind and loose, to admit or withhold forgiveness. It was God’s most gracious will that allowed for a visible Church with a living head, and that through this head there may be greater unity in the vast and universal Church.
It is only with this truth in mind that we look upon the vacant chair as both a hope and a promise: A hope that the chair will once again be filled by a righteous servant who will guide Christ’s Church in obedience, wisdom and humility, and a promise that whomever takes the chair will be guided by none other than the Holy Spirit Himself to preserve the unity and power of Christ’s Holy Bride.
It is with this hope and promise that we can more clearly understand the resignation of Benedict XVI . His stepping down was an act of faith demonstrating that even though he would relinquish his power, Christ’s power in the Church is never relinquished.
Let us pray for our now Pope emeritus that he may faithfully serve the Church in his new capacity, and also for the upcoming Pope that he may be able to lead Christs’s Church through this time of great tribulation.
I’ve discovered that there is a lot of freedom in Catholic Social Teaching (CST) than I previously realized. To have someone else already have gone through the effort of citing chapter and verse from the Bible and investigate cultural context and compare that against the vast body of Christian moral action through all the ages and already having done so with an Authority that I can trusty wholly in, frees me significantly to simply live it. I don’t find myself plagued into inaction by my own lack of understanding and biblical scholarships and therefore doubting the moral fiber of my conclusions. I can listen and obey and in that bring God’s kingdom to earth and grow in holiness.
That everyone should be given what they are due, and that due is somewhat in excess to their basic needs of survival, frees me from the great confusion that is the American political system. I don’t have to ask anymore which policy is better overall because of economic concerns. I am freed to ask of any budget “does this meet the standard set by the Church of supplying each their due?”
That people have inherent dignity and we should not value one person over another through our personal or corporate actions. I am free to ask questions of policies like Affirmative Action “does this policy value minority people more than other peoples?” or “does this policy effectively work to end the undervaluing of minority peoples ?” rather than ask, “is this and effective means to combat minority under-eduction?” or “is this racist?” Effectiveness and racism are poor standards to follow when the inherent dignity of a person because of their status of being made in the Image and Likeness of God is equally present.
All in all, I’m thankful that someone else (meaning hundreds or thousands of others) has taken the time (meaning thousands of academic and theological debate and application) and trouble (meaning martyrdom) to give me a pretty clear moral code to hold my personal life and my society’s life up against and to try to implement to protect the dignity of others. I’m pretty happy to be in RCIA right now and I cannot wait for Easter.