Holiness is a very uncommon feature in our times of moral relativism.
How could it be? If there is no standard for a fixed morality outside the arbitrariness of the subjectivity, holiness becomes impossible. Yesterday Pope Benedict XVI gave an example of personal detachment from worldly power and honors, an example of Christian humility, by announcing his resignation due to his old age . In a world dominated by unholy preferences, Benedict XVI stands as the standard bearer of holiness.
Derided by an evil press since the day he assumed office, misinterpreted by the disingenuous voices of liberal licentiousness, haunted by treachery from within the ranks of his own house, Pope Benedict XVI is really a rare personality. A man more akin to the early centuries of Christianity, when faith fought back the depravity of a decadent empire, today depravity destroys faith financed by the capital, greed, and pride of a civilization.
His renunciation comes as a surprise, and as a gesture of profound humility. The history of Popes who remain in office until death is long. Of the 265 Popes that have sit in the throne of St. Peter for almost 2,000 years, we know of only four that have ever abdicated: two of them, Clement I and Pontian, in the second and third centuries BC respectively; Celestine V resigned in the late 13th century and the last one, Gregory XII resigned in the early 15th century. In few words, we are witnessing an extraordinary event.
Addressing the threat moral relativism poses to the social bond that keeps us as civilized people, Pope Benedict XVI said in his last encyclical letter, Caritas in Veritate: “Truth, by enabling men and women to let go of their subjective opinions and impressions, allows them to move beyond cultural and historical limitations and to come together in the assessment of the value and substance of things. Truth opens and unites our minds in the lógos of love: this is the Christian proclamation and testimony of charity.”
February 28 will open a new conclave. Hopefully a man worthy of the office will take Benedict’s place, as the German pope retires to a convent to spend the rest of his lifetime in prayer.