Ratziner had the longest paper trail of anybody elected Pope in our lifetimes. He's got a huge list of published works, and anybody who's dipped into it even a little bit can see that he's a person of wide-ranging learning, great wisdom, and immense personal goodness.
This is not something one an say about all popes. Twentieth-century popes had sometimes the smarts but not the courage; sometimes courage but not knowledge; sometimes goodness but not prudence. Ratzinger has good portions of All That. What a blessing to have him in the papacy for even the few years we had him.
The people in the American Evangelical world I respect most --- like Al Mohler --- have a sincere regard for Joseph Ratzinger --- and he appreciates them, too.
Plus, the man is humble. You'll notice, if you read this story closely, that he didn't call a press conference or get on the Vatican Radio or call CNN to announce he'd had a word from God. Far from it. He has been leading a silent, almost cloistered life in the 6 months since he stepped down as pope. Some anonymous individual who visited him gleaned this from him in what was supposed to be a private meeting. I am *sure* he did not intend this blabbermouth to run to Zenit or to this Tornielli person and launch it into global orbit.
Since I know you are a person of prayer, I hope you will pray for him and for Francis, just or the sake of the Christian family as a whole. I will pray for you and yours.
The point isn’t the pope’s works or accomplishments. It is whether God actually “told” him to do it. How was it done? Did he hear an “inner voice”? Did angels appear from heaven to deliver the message? And then there is the response by other Christians. Why do Christians believe some people see visions and accept their from God while rejecting others? Why are we willing to accept the pope’s statement on face value and not others? Is it because of our prejudice?
I have nothing against Joseph Ratzinger just like I have nothing against Pat Robinson. My point is that Christians cannot rely upon the testimony of some that what they’ve encounter was God talking to them and reject others. We can only say “Hmmmm....that’s interesting.” or “OKay.....” but that is about where we have to leave it. In the end we have to look at the scriptures.
Personally, I think Ratzinger made the right and courageous decision. This sounds more like regrets and excuses. But that’s understandable. If the Pope had said, “I’ve prayed about it and felt God was leading me to resign for the betterment of the Church.”, then that’s fine. Ratzinger would never and could not have resigned if it was not for the will of God-whether he was told by an angel or not.