I still remember tearing up as a third grader as the late monsignor of my Catholic elementary school celebrated his last mass before retirement. He was the the man who welcomed me with open arms to the small archdiocesan school where I made lifelong friends and began a vigorous education that led me to Penn State.
I’ll never forget wishing my former high school principal, who was also Sister of St. Joseph, luck as she departed my tiny all-girls high school to revamp inner city schools in Camden, N.J.
For some reason, saying goodbye to the religiously ordained throughout my 13 years of Catholic school education always strongly resonated with me.
When I heard the news that Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation Monday, citing old age and a decline in energy, I was saddened and stunned like the rest of the world. I felt like I did as a third grader dressed in a navy blue, plaid jumper.
Like the rest of the world, I didn’t see it coming. A pope hasn’t retired since Pope Gregory XII in 1415. I just started following @Pontifex on Twitter last month.
Sorrow, disappointment and fear of the unknown tend to accompany situations when leaders leave their post unexpectedly. They stop guiding you. You may feel lost.
When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, people rioted across the country. Another example is when the fictional character Dumbledore of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series died while headmaster of Hogwarts, Harry and his classmates felt abandoned.
Many Catholics throughout the world may be uncertain about what the future will bring for the Catholic Church and who will replace Benedict XVI whose reign was tainted by controversy, including a child abuse scandal.
Even though uncertainty lingers on the horizon, I applaud the 85-year-old pope for recognizing and admitting that he may not be best suited to lead over 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and be a religious figurehead for the entire world.It takes guts to break a 300-year tradition.
A true leader realizes when he or she can’t live up to the duties required for the job.
Benedict XVI admitted he couldn’t perform his job to the best of his abilities and announced to the world, “…I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
In today’s world, I see too many people take on jobs they can’t handle, whether it’s taking 21 credits a semester to satisfy doubly major requirement or leading a dozen student organizations to boost a resume.
I’ve seen parents become so invested in their jobs that they lose sight of caring for their children.
Yes, hard work, determination and a stubbornness to give up are admirable qualities.
But, I think at some point, when a job or project begins controlling us, instead, it’s OK to let it go.
The world may be better off it we slowed down in our own lives and if we subtracted things from our plates. Life is too short to be consumed by neverending days or work. Life should be focused on what makes us happy — whether that’s leading a community bake sale or managing a multimillion-dollar company.
And when you think you’ve done all you can possibly do to make the position great or can’t physically go on, it may be time to leave.
People step down from their positions all the time. Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, resigned from his positions just months before he died of pancreatic cancer.
How many U.S. Presidents would gladly accept a third term in office?
The pope emphasized that it was his calling from God to step down.
Whether you’re religious or not, it’s hard not to admit you have some calling in life.
Everyone has different talents, and I believe people should use their talents to bring good to the world.
But at some point our talents may expire.
We get old. Our bodies can’t handle stress. We get sick. We want to cherish our final years surrounded by loved ones.
We can’t be leaders forever. It’s OK to change paths, to switch gears.
Christina Gallagher is a junior majoring in journalism and is The Daily Collegian’s Wednesday columnist. Email her at email@example.com.