I exhort the presbyters among you,as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed.Tend the flock of God in your midst,overseeing not by constraint but willingly,as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.Do not lord it over those assigned to you,but be examples to the flock.And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
As Pope Benedict steps off of the Chair of Saint Peter, I wonder how much he was influenced by this quote from Peter. So many have suggested that he vacated that chair because of either scandal, or because its burden became too great. Perhaps though in steping off of that chair, he is simply listening to the wisdom of the one who that particular seat is named after. Perhaps it is out of concern of that flock that he puts ambition aside and tends that flock humbly. Pope Benedict is not exercising that chair through the constraint of history or tradition, but prayerfully under the guidance of the chief Shepard. Why would anyone think that he vacate that seat under the guidance of anyone but the one who has guided him all along? Perhaps rather than looking for the scandal, the flock would be better served seeking the wisdom contained in that seat. The wisdom present in how one ascends onto it, and the wisdom in how one steps off of it.