Pope Benedictus XVI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Genesis 9:6 explains why it’s a sin to murder or even injure a man:
“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”
Because we are each made in God’s image it is wrong to kill us, or even assault us. To kill another man is a kind of blasphemy against God, Himself.
However, highest form of the blasphemy inherent in killing another man is killing yourself. That’s why those who commit suicide are deemed to have committed an unpardonable sin and won’t be buried on “hallowed ground” by the Catholic Church.
See, my body is the particular “image of God” with which I’ve blessed and also entrusted in this life. It’s merely true that others have a divine prohibition against injuring or killing my body, it’s also (in my opinion) that I have an obligation to defend my personal “image of God” against any assault by the wicked. Thus, I have a right of self-defense where that “self” is my personal “image of God”.
Therefore, if I commit suicide, I have probably committed the single greatest insult and blasphemy that any man can commit against God. By committing suicide, I not only kill my own “image of God,” I deny my obligation to defend my “image of God”.
There may be greater blasphemies than suicide, but I have no idea of what they may be.
This introduction on suicide brings me to the recent resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. I want to begin by saying I am not Catholic. I wasn’t raised Catholic. I haven’t studied the Catholic faith. So, my following commentary is based on nothing more than my own “gut”. I write from ignorance. Even so, I might have something to write that’s worth reading.
There are a number of conspiracy theories to explain why he resigned. Some say he’s so old that he can no bear the workload required of a Pope. Others say he may have some criminal liability attached to lawsuits against the Catholic Church for allowing child abuse by priests to continue. I have no idea which theory is true. I don’t know why the Pope resigned.
But if I understand the Catholic faith correctly, the Pope was and presumably still is, presumed by Catholics to be God on Earth. For reasons unknown to me, after the physical body of the last Pope died, God decided to inhabit the body of the man we’ve come to call Pope Benedict XVI.
If that were true, the man chosen to be Pope would be singularly blessed. To be chosen to allow your personal “image of God” (your body) to become the exclusive “vessel” that holds God the Father would be an extraordinary blessing.
I can say that if God chose my body to “occupy,” I would never throw Him out. I would continue to carry God within my flesh until they carried me out, feet first.
So, I look at Pope Benedict XVI and I’m wondering “What th’ hell are you thinkin’ about, buddy?” What do you have to do that’s so important that you’ve decided to evict God and retire from the ranks of Popes?
For me–an ignorant non-Catholic–it looks as if either Pope Benedict XVI never really was God or, if he was, he has just committed a kind of blasphemy that makes normal suicides seem benign.
Pope Benedict has just abdicated what some believe to be the throne of God. Pope Benedict has just turned his back on God and effectively said, “Get th’ hell out!” Pope Benedict has seemingly declared that it’s better to be a mortal man than God.
A Pope has seemingly turned his back on God.
As I’ve already said, my ignorance concerning things “Catholic” is almost perfect. I don’t mean to offend anyone. I may be completely off the beam in this article.
But there is something in Pope Benedict’s resignation that strikes as spiritually horrific. If the Pope were God, why couldn’t He resolve whatever health, energy, legal or political problems were bugging him? Why would the “Pope/God” cave in to the pressure and resign as Pope?
I’m not even sure that, once chosen to “be” the Pope, any man can “resign”. Maybe the appointment as Pope is “for life” and can’t be terminated except by death.
You don’t quit being Pope the same way you resign from being a janitor or even a President. The fact that Benedict the XVI chose to resign rather than die tells me that either the Catholic faith is a fraud and the Pope is no more “godly” than your or me–or–the one man on Earth who acts as God’s vessel has quit.
There’s even a report by USA Today that on the night of the day when Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, St. Peter’s basilica (located within the Vatican) was struck twice by lightning. I don’t know if these reports are true or false. More, as a Protestant, I’m not inclined to treat these reports as true since they tend to validate the Catholic faith. Nevertheless, I have to admit that these reports are consistent with the idea that God might be very displeased by the Pope’s resignation–or that big changes are coming.
As a Protestant, I’m not sure that Pope Benedict’s resignation didn’t strike a lethal blow against the foundation of the Catholic Church. He seems to have committed a kind of spiritual suicide that’s almost unprecedented.
If it’s wrong to commit suicide because you’re made in God’s image, isn’t it an even more profound suicide if you are chosen to “be” or “retain” God and you quit? There’s something extraordinary in Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. There are some spiritual implications that I can’t put my finger on, but something about it all seems, at least to me, to constitute an incredible assault on the Catholic Church.