JFK once said, "An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it."
Pope Benedict is the first pope in 600 years to resign, and while he cited bad health as the reason for this, many of us suspect there are deeper realizations behind it.
In astrology, the Age of Aries lasted from approximately 2,000 BC to 1 AD, which ushered in the Age of Pisces with the birth of Jesus, which lasted from approximately 1 AD to the recent past. Now we are entering the Age of Aquarius (the water pourer), in which the old rules and ideas are poured out once again, as they were when Jesus entered the scene. In Second Corinthians 5:17 Paul says, "If a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether–the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new."
But Benedict was a man of the past, who wanted to take the Catholic church back to a past in which everyone–clergy and laypeople both–toed the line and followed the rules. He even attacked his own nuns for spending too much time helping the poor and not enough time studying the scriptures!
The JFK quote (which is also attributed to several other people) certainly applies to the current pedophile scandal in the church. As Cardinal Ratzinger, Benedict seems to have spent more time protecting errant priests than protecting vulnerable children.
But this is not the age of rules–we’ve all experienced too much heartbreak, following the rules leaders such as Hitler and (more recently) George W. Bush, who led us into unnecessary and devastating wars.
This is an age of exploration–and with the internet, we have the tools to go anywhere. We’re learning about new spiritual paths and adding pieces of wisdom from all sorts of sources to our spiritual vocabulary.
He seems to have forgotten that religion is supposed to engender joy. Instead, he spent his time advocating for celibacy (even though it’s obviously a dated concept), denying same-sex marriage and insisting that women did not belong in the priesthood.
I suspect that maybe Benedict finally came to the conclusion that, as Pope, he has taken the wrong path. If so, he at least has the spiritual insight to realize this. In his resignation announcement, he said, "I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me."
I doubt he was just talking about his physical health.