The Pope watched as his predecessor, John Paul II became incapacitated in office, leaving the church leaderless in a time of crisis. The 85-year-old pontiff sensed his own abilities waning. So he decided to place the welfare of the church ahead of his own desire for power.
There are a thousand reasons to criticize the Catholic church and its leader. But for this decision Benedict deserves nothing but praise. He made the manly choice.
Benedict is following the example of all the great men of scripture. Moses, Elijah, Paul and Jesus – every man of God who accomplished his mission on earth voluntarily gave up power toward the end of life and invested that power in other capable men. But men who held on too long (such as Samson and David) met with disaster.
My third book, The Map: The Way of All Great Men chronicles the three journeys every great man must walk: submission, strength and sacrifice. The final journey is the most difficult, because it requires a man to relinquish his hard-won power by pouring it into others. Benedict is walking that third journey. He will not handpick his successor, but he will be available to mentor if asked.
A true man of faith is always ready for the next thing God has for him.
The great need in the church today is not for men who know how to wield power – but for men who know how to empower others.