Today marks a historic day: the final day of Pope Benedict’s papacy. This is the first (and quite possibly the only) papal resignation in our lifetime and that is something that I feel is worth recognizing.
One must admit that the Pope left with style, taking a helicopter out of the Vatican earlier today. The pomp and circumstance shows how important this occasion is and how important he is as a leader. However one thing that I truly find admirable is how gracious he is about leaving the church to his future successors. “Among you there is also the future pope to whom I promise my unconditional obedience and reverence.” The fact that the Pope is willing to step aside and take the last years of his life as his own reflection I think is amazing. After having so much power for so long one could still feel the need to have the control, but Benedict really understands what he needs and the Church needs.
In my first post I discussed how other religions are affected by the decisions of the next pope and who the next pope will be. However the resignation of the Pope can teach us all something about the humility of leadership. When being a leader for something as great as a religion or as small as a group on a college campus, there always comes a time when a leader needs to step aside and let the future generations take charge. If we all looked at different aspects of our lives with the gratitude and humility that Benedict has displayed, I think that there would be a positive change in the future of leadership, giving us capable new leaders who learned from their predecessors and then had the confidence from them to continue to do great things.
In the meantime, I wish the Pope all of the best on his last journey through life. As he so eloquently put it, “I will simply be a pilgrim who is starting the last phase of his pilgrimage on this earth.”