POSTED: Monday, February 11, 2013 - 8:03pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 11:16am
Tyler, Tx — The announcement of the retirement of Pope Benedict caught everyone by surprise. And while we’ve heard reactions from church and world leaders, what about local parishes and clergy?
We found ourselves wondering today, what’s the reaction in the pews to the first Papal resignation in 600 years? And Father Tim Kelly was happy to oblige.
“You know, if you’re old and sick and in trouble, and the Pope is old and sick and in trouble…it might be a great inspiration,” he told us.
Father Kelly is the rector of St. Mary Magdelene Catholic Church in Flint. And he knew both Pope Benedict and his predecessor John Paul the Second.
“You know, Benedict had some big shoes to fill,” Fr. Kelly says. “I’ll give you the most striking difference between John Paul and Benedict is the way they celebrated the liturgy. John Paul had immense style. He was very conscious of the camera. He was an artist. He had been an actor. He understood that liturgy is to capture the eye and the heart, and bring people to Christ. Benedict was a romantic, a German romantic.”
He feels Pope Benedict should be given credit for things that took some courage.
“He did take the Legion of Christ,” Kelly said, referring to a religious organization founded in the early 1940’s, ”and shamed their leader, shamed him in public, which he should have been. And condemned him for being a pedophile, a rapist, a bigamist and a thief. And that would never have happened if Benedict hadn’t courage.”
And despite all the speculation, the next choice by the College of Cardinals, might well be Italian.
“I lived in Rome near the end of John Paul’s time, and yeah, they liked John Paul, he brought lots of tourists to the city. But even the taxi drivers would tell you they wanted an Italian Pope,” Fr. Kelly recounts.
But whomever is chosen, the task will be formidable. Incidentally, there is a prophecy, generally believed to be a forgery, but attributed to the Irish Saint Malachi that the next Pope will be the last before the end times.
“St. Malachi was an Irish saint,” Fr. Kelly laughs, “and you know Irish saints…on certain festive days of the year, might not have been altogether logical, you know. They might have been sort of on something.”
The Cardinals will meet in March and choose a new Bishop of Rome. That means, the new Pope will be installed in time for Easter.