By Fr. Jason Cargo
Special to the Corsicana Daily Sun
Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles from Fr. Jason Cargo of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on the selection of a new pope.
“My favorite uncle has become my new father.”
These words expressed my feelings while standing with tens of thousands at St. Peter’s Square and hearing the announcement that Josef Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) had just been elected to be the next Bishop of Rome. With millions, I had been mourning the death of Pope John Paul II. He had been our spiritual father for 27 years leading and guiding the Catholic Church. Who would be the next spiritual father, our next Pope? We all knew of Cardinal Ratzinger. Stories abounded of how my brother priests would run into him in St. Peter’s Square and they would have coffee together. He was like our favorite uncle of the church.
So naturally, when I had heard that Cardinal Ratzinger was elected to be Pope Benedict XVI, excitement coursed through my veins. I hugged people nearby. I probably even yelled out a great Aggie Whoop! The man of which we all knew would be the next Pope of the Catholic Church. Simply said, the Pope is an ordained bishop who is elected to be the Bishop of Rome. St. Peter, the Apostle, was the first Bishop of Rome, having received his authority from Jesus Christ (Mathew 16:19). For over 20 centuries there has been an unbroken line of succession. We all knew that Pope Benedict XVI, being a man of great humility would shepherd us well.
Throughout his papacy’s first years, I read most of Pope Benedict’s homilies and books. I sought to listen to his Wednesday audiences, and I came to love his great humility. In one of his first messages, Pope Benedict XVI demonstrated this magnanimous character trait. “I trust in your help. I ask for your understanding if I make mistakes, as happens to any man, or if something that the Pope has to say or do ... is not understood” (Address to German Pilgrims 4/25/05). I saw this humility again when I had a chance to serve him at a Mass in the Basilica of St. Peter’s in 2006. Indeed, Pope Benedict has shown us what it means to be first a humble disciple of Jesus Christ.
And now, this man that I have come to know and love humbly has renounced his position as the Bishop of Rome. How could he do so? Has this happened before? What does this mean for the Church? Read more next week.
Fr. Jason Cargo of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Corsicana will share his thoughts and observations weekly during the selection of a new leader for the Catholic Church.