Nothing becomes Pope Benedict XVI more than the manner of his retirement.
He is the first Pope to resign since 1415, the year of the Battle of Agincourt. This is absurd. Where on Earth has this stupid idea come from that people should remain in certain positions until they die? The Pope is eighty five. He is slightly older than the last Pope was when he died. He is already the fourth oldest pope since 1295. He was already too old to be Pope when he took over in 2005. Of course, he should retire. In any other job, he would have been pensioned off years ago.
Remember the last Pope? Jean Paul II. Considered a successful Pope by many, his last years were painful to watch as he visibly deteriorated in front of the world’s eyes. The satirical magazine The Onion captured the mood with the headline “Ageing Pope ‘Just Blessing Everything in Sight’ say Concerned Handlers”.
There is much to condemn about the Roman Catholic church but the Pope and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands who announced she is to stand down recently (she is in her mid-70s) are here setting a good example.
Queen Elizabeth II should heed these examples. She is doing well now but do we really want her to feel she has to go on if her health seriously declines? It is time the Queen removed the stigma attached to the concept of abdication left by her uncle Edward VIII.
She is not Edward VIII. There is no scandal here. Furthermore, her son – the future Charles III – is not a reluctant George Vi type as in 1936.
The Queen should wait until On that date, her own reign will finally surpass her great great grandmother Queen Victoria’s reign by precisely one day. Elizabeth II will thus become the longest serving monarch in British history.
Then she should abdicate.