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Pope displays courage, wisdom in stepping down

God bless Pope Benedict XVI’s courage and wisdom. By choosing to step down, he reinforces that a great and deserving man was chosen to be pope. He clearly accepts his limitations, demonstrating the same humility and faith that led him to be an ideal pope. He led the Catholic Church through a difficult time and had an added burden of following in the footsteps of the iconic Pope John Paul II.

I named my son after Pope John Paul I. I deeply revered John Paul II. It was difficult to witness his struggle to fulfill his duties as his condition worsened.

I admire Benedict’s ability to accept the reality of the situation in spite of the long tradition to go to the bitter end. I find this practice outdated, serving neither the church, nor being respectful or grateful to the aging popes. There are new realities to consider – as people live much longer, their abilities and stamina diminish further.

We must remember that though popes are most holy and faithful, they are not super beings. They, like the rest of us, physically, cognitively and emotionally age and become frail. Is it fair to them to make them truly suffer to prove their full faith and dedication? Haven’t they already given all? Our God has taught us to be more merciful than that. Benedict has offered us a humbling example that sometimes letting go is the highest form of true love and responsibility.

Laura Wright

Amherst