News flash: It is February 10th and the Pope is still hereI suppose it is a good thing that I have given up television for Lent. This is because I began my morning yesterday wanting to throw something at the TV after repeatedly hearing speculation on Today that the Pope might resign. (Nicole and I originally agreed to make a morning exception to this penitence in order to hear the weather for the day before leaving.) All Katie Couric could talk about was whether or not the Pope was going to resign. (After all, the Pope didn't make it to Mass at St. Peter's for Ash Wednesday...gasp! The world is coming to an end!) They even had someone calling himself a "Vatican Expert" on there claiming what a historic move it would be for the Pope to resign. To hear some of these people talk, you'd think the Pope was actually going to resign at any moment.
The first problem with this notion is that there has only been one Pope leave office voluntarily in 2,000 years. Just because John Paul is old and feeble does not mean he is unfit for the office of the Successor of Peter. What a sickening mentality it is to say that because someone is old they are incapable of serving God. This is the mentality that prevails in secular society today: The more advanced someone is in age, the less worth they have to the larger community. Apparently, in the eyes of some, that rationale now applies to the Church. It is the same line of thought that causes certain people to tolerate the murder of the aged and disabled under the guise of euthenasia.
There are much more sinister forces at work, here, however, than merely those who would devalue life (those people have always felt that way), and those are the forces that would use the Pope's sickly condition to undermine the Church. Whether they are aware of it or not, NBC and the other networks that constantly feed false speculation about the Pope resigning are siding with a faction in the Church (or rather, they claim to be in the Church) that would love to see the Pope resign. The goal of this group is not to relieve the Pope's suffering, but to set a precident for the removal of future popes so that when the Pope proclaims the Truth to the world, they can chalk it up to old age and sinility and try and force any pope that they don't want to obey to resign. They want to use the Church not to save souls, but as a mere tool of the City of Man. I seriously doubt that John Paul II wants to give these enemies of the Church any satisfaction.
One priest that they had on there this morning had it right, though. He said that in the end, the Pope will do what the Holy Spirit tells him to do. This is what the secular press does not understand: The Church's leader's are chosen by God, and God will keep them in their places or remove them at his pleasure. Leaving office is not up to the Pope, it is up to the Holy Spirit. Whatever he does, the Pope will not lean on his own understanding, but will be guided by the Holy Spirit to do what is best for the Church.