This is worth absorbing:
It could very well be that Pope Benedict’s greatest contribution to Catholic ecclesiology will be that he resigned the papal office.
How paradoxical that a Pope who, after John Paul II, had elevated both the Papal and the priestly state to near God-like status, has effectively, by his abdication, brought the institution back to earth. Money quote from Joseph A. Komonchak:
By this act, his frank admission that to carry out the Petrine ministry certain conditions of bodily and mental health are required, Benedict helps bring the papacy back within the Church, down from what Hans Urs von Balthasar called “pyramid-like isolation.” It also suggests the thought that if a pope can resign for health reasons, he might resign for other reasons also, as, for example, because he agrees with something Newman said in 1870:
“It is not good for a Pope to live 20 years. It is anomaly and bears no good fruit; he becomes a god, has no one to contradict him, does not know facts, does cruel things without meaning it.”
Oh for another Newman.