According to Vatican News:
Pope Francis focused his reflections on the day’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles where Paul, “compelled by the Holy Spirit,” takes his leave from the Church Elders at Ephesus to go to Jerusalem. “It’s a decisive move, a move that reaches the heart, it’s also a move that shows us the pathway for every bishop when it’s time to take his leave and step down,” he said …
“When I read this, I think about myself, he declared, “because I am a bishop and I must take my leave and step down.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard such talk.
Readers may recall that Francis prophesied his own death, while also speaking of retirement, back in 2014 on the return flight to Rome from South Korea.
As reported by The Guardian:
“I see it as the generosity of the people of God. I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud. Because I know it will last only a short time. Two or three years and then I’ll be off to the Father’s house,” [Francis] replied …
Pope Francis also mentioned the possibility of retiring from the papacy, as his predecessor Benedict XVI did last year, if he felt he could no longer adequately perform his duties.
Resigning the papacy was a possibility “even if it does not appeal to some theologians”, he told reporters.
Last April, he made similar remarks that led the Associated Press to report: Pope Francis hints he may not be around in 2019.
What we are to make of these things is anyone’s guess.
On the one hand, starting with the earliest days of his “so-called pontificate” (yup, that’s Fr. Nicholas Gruner speaking yet again from his pauper’s grave) it has become rather obvious that Jorge “Mama watch me” Bergoglio has an insatiable desire to call attention to himself. As such, his recent comments may be nothing more than that.
On the other hand, one has every reason to suspect that the infamous St. Gallen mafia (and others) conspired to send Jorge Bergoglio to Rome (well before Benedict the Abdicator fled for fear of the wolves, mind you) to carry out a rather specific task in service to a well-defined cause.
It only stands to reason that they likely did so with the understanding (and mutual agreement) that, once he had outlived his usefulness, he too would step aside in favor of the next chosen Generalissimo of the Revolution.
In any case, I for one am hoping that the day will come when Francis will announce his resignation. Not because I have any expectation whatsoever that the terrible crisis at hand will subside in any meaningful way, but because I do expect that it would be very instructive; shedding light, albeit inadvertently, on the case of Benedict the Abdicator.
For instance, if Benedict’s precedent-setting resignation was utterly unforced and entirely valid, we should expect to see such things as the following in the aftermath of a Bergoglian resignation:
– Francis will not resume his former name but will henceforth take the title “Pope Emeritus”
– He will dress in papal whites
– He will be addressed as Holy Father, even by his successor
– He will live within the confines of the Vatican
– He will be as one “cloistered” and will move about only with the permission of his successor
– He will remain practically mute even in the face major ecclesial scandals
If, however, these things do not happen in the aftermath of a Bergoglian resignation (and I wouldn’t expect them to), then this will serve as yet another sure sign that all is not what we are being told with respect to Benedict’s departure.
In fact, if one considers in some detail the Santa Marta homily of 15 May, the signs are already pointing in that direction; i.e., one of these men is not like the other.
Casual readers of Francis’ words are equating, for all intents and purposes, St. Paul’s departure from Ephesus (as recorded in Acts 20) with the resignation of the papacy, or at the very least, the resignation of an office, and for the simple reason that they believe that Francis himself has done so.
I for one am not so sure. Besides, the comparison just doesn’t hold water.
Don’t get me wrong; Francis has a knack for making Sacred Scripture say whatever he wants it to say, but be that as it may; in this case, the very notion is absurd even for him.
For one, St. Paul was not the pope. For another, in taking leave of Ephesus, in no way was he “resigning” his office; rather, he was simply relocating, and as a matter of historical fact he continued in precisely the same office (Apostle and missionary) for many years afterwards.
Even though St. Paul lived at Ephesus for three years in order to establish and organize the Church there, St. Timothy, properly speaking, is considered its first bishop, having been appointed as such by St. Paul following his departure for Jerusalem.
In weighing Francis’ comments on Acts 20, it seems rather clear that he is painting St. Paul as the de facto bishop of Ephesus who departed his See, saying:
[It’s] a move that shows us the pathway for every bishop when it’s time to take his leave and step down … When I read this, I think about myself because I am a bishop and I must take my leave and step down.
Recall, if you will, the earliest days of the Bergoglian occupation and his reluctance to refer to himself as anything other than “the Bishop of Rome.”
This, of course, was one of many red flags that were raised in short order concerning the state of the papacy.
One wonders, why was this the case, and why did he eventually come around to calling himself the pope?
Could it be that he initially felt compelled to speak of himself only as bishop knowing damned well that the only thing that changed was his clothing? Was he pressured to refer to himself as Roman Pontiff by those who labored to place him in Rome so he could use the weight of the papal office to their ends even if only as a usurper?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but this much is clear:
As time goes on, there are more and more reasons to believe that the so-called resignation of Benedict XVI and the dog-n-pony “papacy” that followed are likely to go down in history as two of the greatest acts of deception ever recorded.
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