Power and responsibility is a frightening combination and to be in charge for 1.2 billion Roman Catholics around the world must require great mental strength. Since 11th February, 2013 when Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, the first one to do it in over 600 years, the entire world seems buzzed with the future of Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict’s resignation echoes the cracks which have been forming within the Vatican since the sex scandals involving Roman Catholics priests and children made headlines in the United States and Europe. This move spells the turbulence which goes on inside the St. Peter’s basilica. With Vatileaks and charges of corruption within the church womb, a lot of faithful have been moving away from the church and are questioning the position of the Pope.
Whenever a big scandal breaks out, the head of the community has to take a fall and when the territory is as large as that of billion people the stakes are higher than ever. A sex scandal involving paedophilia almost shakes the foundation of an institution which is based on lifelong selfless service to the faithful, who abide by the rules and regulations laid down by the Vatican Basilica.
Cardinal Ratzinger’s resignation echoes the loneliness which usually accompanies men on top with enormous hold yet someone who have absolutely no privacy, whose basic decisions in life are not his personal choice but at times become a burden. Politically, socially and emotionally an individual becomes a towering figure and suddenly his life no longer is his own.
At a fragile age of 85, when everyone needs utmost care and support from everyone in a family, Pope Benedict was alone fighting various battles. The accusations made by the media, social workers and NGO’s kept piling up and no one in the Vatican took charge on the follies taking place.
Just as Pope Benedict was getting along the sex scandal, another wave hit him- important documents were leaked and corruption charges were being levied upon the church. In such a rocky road, the Pope then faced resentment within his own members. The cardinals who were accused in the scandals reacted strongly and many of them turned their backs to him. A time came for the Pope to take things within his own hands and he ordered for an internal investigation himself, the reports of which remain unknown.
The lack of support and clashes within the church can be noticed when Keith O’Brien, the archbishop of England and Wales decided to step, few days before the conclave, a secret meeting held by 115 cardinals who would by a system of secret ballot decide the next Pope.
At a time like this, when most Catholics and political institutions are critical of Pope Benedict’s resignation, one important factor is overseen by many. For any system to work, especially a body which is admired and followed by a billion people, a strong network support within the organization is a primary requisite. Pope Benedict’s decision is based on his ailing age, 85 years old and it reflects the lack of inside network support which is absolutely vital for him to look after the church’s affairs.
Pope Benedict since his initiation as the head of church in 2005, has always been a shy figure who is known for his strict approach towards homosexuality, abortion and use of contraceptive pills.