Bishop Mark Davies, at a Mass for thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI:
A chorus of voices in the days ahead will sound a discordant note insisting we put aside their witness and abandon the sound teaching we have received. I have heard such voices at the time of every Conclave of my own life-time. How different the final, faith-filled note of Pope Benedict’s pontificate when he told the crowds in Rome yesterday that he had felt “like St Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the sea of Galilee” in sunshine and in storm. “I always knew,” Pope Benedict said, “the Lord is in the boat, that the boat is not mine, not ours, but His – and He shall not let her sink.” (General Audience, 27 February 2013). Such words of faith spoken to the many thousands who filled St Peter’s Square in the late winter sunshine were interpreted by some media outlets as parting-shots amid power struggles and bitter in-fighting. We will hear much of this in the days ahead.
The Church, it seems, has always been in crisis from the pages of the New Testament until today insofar as she has struggled with human sin and failures. Scandals have too often presented to the world not the radiant face of Christ but the ugly face of sin: your sins and mine. It is always the same crisis we face, a crisis of saints: the need of those men and women outstanding in holiness by which the Church is genuinely renewed in every generation. How foolish it would be to assume that a change of administration rather than a change of heart would bring about this only true reform.