Image credit: @catholicism.
The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was all set to be the biggest news this week, until another unelected god-like figure set off a nuclear bomb, blasting the artist formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger off the front page.
Ratzinger had a complicated and strained relationship with China, where he is not formally recognised as the head of the catholic faith. During his papacy, Ratzinger frequently called on catholics to pray for the “persecuted faithful” in China. The Vatican excommunicated bishops ordained by Chinese catholic authorities.
Reaction to the pope’s resignation was therefore more restrained in China than elsewhere, where it was greeted with shock. Benedict is the first pope to resign since the 1400s. Netizens who commented on the news were mostly supportive of the 85 year old’s right to resign.
Pope Benedict XVI’s in his elderly years is bearing too much responsibility and pressure is kind of torture and inhumane, [choosing a] more appropriate person to assume the burden of the congregation is good.
A Chinese catholic priest spoke to the New York Times:
“I’m open-minded. You can retire as Pope,” said Father Yan, in a telephone interview from a Chinese province. (He can only be identified by his last name since speaking out about Roman Catholicism is politically sensitive in China.)
“When God makes us old, he doesn’t want us to work,” Father Yan said.
“People haven’t really talked about it here. It’s a sensitive issue because of relations, but it won’t impact on relations. The state church will accept it. You change a Pope and things go on for the state church,” he said. “But I think it’s very good to retire. It’s OK. He’s old.”