A friend texted me that question this morning and all I could think was, “Does the Pope wear white?” Of course he can quit. He’s the Pope.
I’m pretty sure this is terrifying news, to be honest. This Pope Maledict wouldn’t leave unless he knew someone more conservative even than he will be the next to be elected. Of course that never, ever means it’s a done deal: the Cardinals are not unpowerful men themselves, and depending on how many enemies he’s made while Pope, there are all kinds of conversations going on about who might be next.
My guess? A homophobic cardinal from the Global South.
But it’s time for all of us recovered, recovering, and practicing Catholics who are on the side of the good to maybe say whatever kind of prayer you can muster for a Pope who will lead the real Catholic Church: the one that will start speaking truth to power about poverty and violence and discrimination. It’s what we do best. Let Vatican Council II’s dying embers spark.