Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise decision to resign was triggered in part by the shocking deterioration of his predecessor Pope John Paul II, according to Bill Donohue, president of The Catholic League.
“All Catholics and millions of non-Catholics love John Paul II, but let’s be honest, in his last couple of months . . . he was feeble,’’ Bill Donohue told Steve Malzberg on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.’’
“He wasn’t in control, he wasn’t in command, and it was sad to look at.’’
Donohue, a Newsmax contributor, said John Paul’s rapidly failing health made an “indelible impression’’ on Joseph Razinger, the German cardinal who was chosen to succeed him as the Catholic Church’s 265th pope in 2005.
“[Pope Benedict] realized that once his day is up, when he knows that he’s no longer 100 percent, the body’s just not working right . . . I don’t think he wanted a repeat performance of the tragic ending of Pope John Paul,’’ Donohue said.
He said the decision was a courageous one not always seen in leadership today.
“We live in a world of egocentric public leaders, public figures,’’ Donohue said.
“This shows a humility and humbleness of the man. He realized, listen, ‘The time has come.’ And I’m sure this was done through a lot of thoughtful prayer asking God for some wisdom.
“He did the noble thing . . . when your doctor says, you’re done with your trans-Atlantic flights; well, the writing is on the wall.’’
Donohue said he hopes the Vatican will “look south’’ in its hunt for Benedict’s successor.
“It’s important that we look at the 35 percent of Catholics in this country are now Hispanic and we have to give them a hard look,’’ he said.
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