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Pope Benedict XVI stands down: first reactions

15 February 2013


From Mr John Ewington
Sir, - Would it not be a good idea for the Church of Rome to adopt our tradition and retire its prelates at the age of 70?

This might mean that any Cardinal who could not serve perhaps 15 or 20 years would not be eligible to be considered. It is far too arduous a job for a man of 70-plus to take on, as the past two popes have shown.

After all, there is nothing particlarly holy about dying in harness. Much more glorious to have the courage to retire.

Hillbrow, Godstone Road
Blechingley, Surrey RH1 4PJ

From the Revd Dr W. S. Monkhouse
Sir, - The Ordinariate was very much Pope Benedict XVI's baby. It is hard to imagine someone like Cardinal Turkson, already the bookies' favourite as successor in the papacy, being as interested in so precious a manifestation of European aestheticism as he was.

Its creation has reversed the 19th-century Catholic revival. It has made the Church of England more Protestant. Churches formerly regarded as middle-of-the-road are now described as liberal Catholic. Surplice and stole, formerly Low Church, is now middle-of-the-road. The Evangelical wing is no longer balanced by the Catholic wing, because the Catholic wing is now a rump.

Whatever Pope Benedict's legacy will turn out to be for the RC Church, his influence on the Church of England, and Anglicanism, has been profound.

The Rectory, Coote Street
Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Ireland

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