School of Christian Thought

Benedict XVIPaolo Flores d’Arcais wrote a breathtaking blog post for the New York Review of Books. It’s one of the most trenchant attempts to interpret Benedict XVI’s resignation that I’ve read. He explores the theological implications of a Spirit-inspired Vicar of Christ on Earth saying that he is too old to continue in his divinely appointed task. Is the Holy Spirit not able to strengthen him and the church during a time of mortal weakness?

This is a weighty question, to be sure. But what intrigued me even more is d’Arcais’s speculation that in the face of raging power struggles that are bringing the Church to her knees, Benedict decided to surrender. To scamper off to Castel Gandolfo and after that to a former convent. Too old and feeble to fight, the now Pope Emeritus chose to pray.

But should we equate prayer with surrender? The author of Ephesians writes:

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