'Tis an odd thing, the resignation of a pope, an event not seen in over 600 years. But I have a theory as to why, one that I think gets a little stronger when one reads between the lines of Benedict's letter of resignation:
However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me...
Catholicism is under fire as never before, from pogroms in the Middle East to disinterest and decay across Europe, while in the Untied States, a radically socialist president attempts to force American Catholics to disobey the teachings of their faith and accept Big Government as their new god.
There is a tremendous battle on the horizon. I believe Pope Benedict saw that, and perhaps realized his armies of the faithful needed a new, younger leader with the vigor to wage the fight for moral survival. Or perhaps he prayed on it, and received such guidance from above.
But Pope Benedict does not get to pick his own successor, such duties are passed upon his Cardinals. One wonders, with so many of them having a European bent, if they will pick a new pope who accepts the Obama/Social Democrat definition of the Church's role in a citizen's life: As secondary to that of the needs and the will of the State.
Or will they pick a man who resists the subjugation of religious morality to government dictate, and will fight to allow Catholics - and all of mankind - to chose their own moral compass?
Plus, he's been a real thorn in Barack Obama's side. See here, and here.
God always provides us with an answer. The problem, of course, is that we're usually too dense to see it....