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The North Wind

The North Wind

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Ryley Wilcox
Ryley Wilcox
News Editor

I found my passion for journalism during my sophomore year of college, writing articles here and there for the North Wind. Since joining the staff this past semester as the news writer, I have been able...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

NMU CARES — President Brock Tessman shares his feelings on the universitys new CARE Team. Photo Courtesy of Northern Michigan University
Letter to the Editor — Our New CARE Team
Brock TessmanFebruary 23, 2024

World in awe as pope steps down

On the morning of Monday, Feb. 11, Pope Benedict XVI announced he would be resigning from his position as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

The decision will become effective on Thursday, Feb. 28, and will mark the first time in almost 600 years that someone has stepped down from the position.

As the church prepares for a successor — to be chosen by the appointed cardinals — Benedict’s legacy and what lies ahead for the ancient organization has become a hot topic for discussion.

Benedict, born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, began his papacy on April 19, 2005 as the successor of Pope John Paul II.

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Benedict is known by scholars for an ideology similar to that of the pope before him — conservative in his theological viewpoints and dedicated to the the traditional doctrines and values of Catholicism.

During his papacy, Benedict saw both a resurgence in the Catholic faith and criticism of the religious institution. Many consider his 2009 encyclical, or letter to Roman Catholic bishops, to be one of the highpoints of his time as pope.

Entitled “Caritas in Veritate” or “Love (Charity) in Truth,” the letter is said to be a condemnation of the contemporary system of economics, “where the pernicious effects of sin are evident.” Benedict urged his followers and Catholics around the world to retain their values and ethics in a world shrouded in fiscal despair.

Herein lies a shining light for Catholicism’s non-believers: a plea to the leaders of a historically-corrupt society to keep their heads above the rising tide of greed and financial disarray.

While many may disagree with some practices of the Roman Catholic Church, encyclicals such as “Caritas in Veritate” are a reminder of the importance of helping out your neighbor — especially in a time of economic recession and recovery.

For the seemingly righteous dictations of the church, there are scars that could not be hidden, and Benedict was unable to escape the notorious sexual abuse scandals that seem to rock the organization every few years.

This remained an issue during Benedict’s papacy, particularly in 2010.

It was revealed that Benedict had been made aware that a priest he had sent to therapy for pedophilia was returning to pastoral work and was later convicted of molesting boys.

While Benedict enacted a number of policies to prevent future abuse and to restore public opinion of the church, it remains a blight on his legacy.

Another widely-publicized gaffe of Benedict’s papacy was in 2009, when the Vatican lifted the excommunication of British bishop Richard Williamson, who openly denied the Holocaust as being a historical fact.

Repealing Williamson’s punishment was deeply upsetting for members of the Jewish community, who viewed the action as largely insensitive and obtuse.

As Benedict prepares to leave his post — should we care? Hell, George Harrison said, “And while the pope owns 51 percent of General Motors, and the stock exchange is the only thing he’s qualified to quote us.”

Undoubtedly, those who serve as pope are burdened with the massive responsibility of smoothing relations in the theological world.

Whether someone agrees with their teachings or not, molding the values of one of the oldest established religions around the issues of the 21st century is not a job for anyone with a less-than-iron will.

For those who prescribe to a particular faith, it may be a bigger deal than to the non-believers. The pope is not only a representative for the Catholic church, but a symbol of their ideas and a builder of bridges.

Individuals who choose to believe the scripture of the Bible are, or at least should be, aware of a constant struggle between traditional faith and the constantly shifting reality of the world around us.

As an 85-year-old man, Benedict’s decision to resign seems perfectly reasonable.

Established religion is a dynamic entity, and the responsibility to preserve whatever is left of it is a tall glass of water.

Time will tell us both what lies in store for the Vatican, one of the oldest symbols of religion in history, and where the next pope will steer them.

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