With Pope Benedict XVI's surprising abdication, Catholics are left speculating on a variety of issues. Who will succeed him? What will his vision be? How does the Church adjust to having a "former pope" still alive? Was Benedict a good pope? All of these questions are interesting and deserved to be considered. Alongside these questions will be a lot of pontificating from Catholics well known and obscure. Some of what they will say is worthwhile. A lot of what they will say is worthless. (Perhaps this writer will wind up amongst the latter.)
Yet If I could offer one bit of advice for Catholics during this truly unprecedented time, it would be to remember how little any of this will matter for our day to day faith lives. That might seem controversial, but let us think about it.
The Holy Spirit is ultimately in control of the Church, and there really isn't a darn thing you or I can do about it, for good or ill. Remember this every time you begin to worry about who the next Pope will be. Our daily faith lives will go on, more or less as they always have no matter who the Pope is.
Many are wondering what they can do during this unprecedented time. Prayer is certainly the first thing we should be doing. Not just for the New Pope (who will need a lot of our prayers no doubt), but for our own salvation as well. Benedict XVI talked about the demands placed upon his shoulders as part of the reason for his decision. Those demands are made worse by our sins. The Pope would not need to be such a powerful witness for the faith if every Catholic was living the Gospel fruitfully, ourselves included. Work on that above everything else.