Taking over in the large shadow of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI has nonetheless been a "great" himself. His theological contributions to the Church, efforts to forge unity, restoration of the liturgy and implementation of the vision of Vatican II, bringing the Gospel into the social media, and so on, speak for themselves. There is no greater theologian pope in recent centuries. The successes of these past eight years will not be fully perceived by our generation. Here is the declaratio on the Vatican page.
Don't we all wish we had Pope Benedict's defects? Though Pope Benedict may be stepping down because of declining health and strength, the Church today is stronger, healthier, and more unified than it was in 2005. The Church, as always, is in the hands of the Holy Spirit, Who has guided her mightily through the ages. Through the intercession of Our Lady, I am confident that the next pope will continue to pursue the vision of the Holy Spirit for our day. For now, I hope that we will all save the discussion of who we think is going to be the next pope until the conclave. Let us enjoy the final weeks of Benedict XVI's excellent pontificate.
Viva Papa Benedetto!
For more, see Whispers in the Loggia.