When Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, we all knew that his papacy would not last as long as some predecessors. So his resignation should not be a complete surprise, and we ought to praise God for the eight years that Pope Benedict has been able to serve and lead the Catholic Church.
Still, even though I am not Catholic, I was saddened to read today of his resignation. I have known this humble man personally for the last eighteen years, and through personal encounters and correspondence, I have developed a deep respect for him. Already as a cardinal, and then as pope, he has been a tireless advocate for the true values of Christianity—values which are sadly being lost, and attacked, all over the world.
Pope Benedict is one of the few voices that have had the courage to speak out for true Christ-like discipleship and for traditional family values. With his resignation, we are losing a voice of conscience that we can ill afford to lose, even as it has been rejected and criticized.
I am going to miss Brother Benedict very much and will have him on my prayers. And I pray that the Catholic Church will be led and guided in appointing his successor.
Johann Christoph Arnold is senior pastor of the Bruderhof Communities, an Anabaptist-inspired movement that seeks to live in accord with Acts 4:32-35.