I became a Catholic in 2010, in part as a response to my involvement in the Tea Party movement.

So, I was very excited about the news that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning:

He will be the first head of the Roman Catholic Church to resign in almost 600 years, with his departure expected to leave the post vacant for around three weeks.

The 85-year-old German’s resignation letter said: “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

I became Catholic, because as a citizen activist, the church helped me with two issues that arose from being involved with politics: Handling insults with grace and, the opposite effect, letting the attention go to my head. As this will be the first new pope selected since my conversion, I am following the news with real interest.

The Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia, is my “Blog-Mother”. She has inspired my political writing as well as my faith. She has some poignant thoughts about this retirement, comparing it to the last pope’s exit via the gates of death:

Perhaps Benedict’s retirement is meant to remind this exceedingly busy world — the non-stop, twenty-four-hour-live and very self-important world — that we are none of us indispensable; that there comes a time to step back, throw oneself into the arms of the Lord and trust that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Yes, I am sad. I have loved Benedict XVI; he has been my favorite pope — I loved John Paul, of course, but as I have said before, he was a grand, dramatic pipe organ of a man; he belonged to the whole world and his writings are often so dense I cannot plumb them. Benedict has always been the more accessible tinkling piano, simply inviting one to come closer.

Personally, I suspect that the very sensible Pope Benedict thinks that by retiring rather than staying in the Papacy until death, he can direct the choice of the next pope and ensure a conservative successor. And, as I saw Pope John Paul II at the Vatican for myself and felt the love Catholics had for him because of his traditional faith approach, I hope this is the case.

No matter who is selected next to head the Catholic Church, with over 1 billion Catholics worldwide, the man will have enormous influence on the world stage. Unsurprisingly, Twitter comments are flying fast and furious:

Pope resigns tweets

However, as Twitchy reports, the resignation is a great excuse for a flood of hate-tweets:

Pope resigns #3

Because nothing says “tolerance” or “civility” like telling the head of the Catholic Church to slit his wrists instead.

For a Pope to resign is a historic event, as the year was 1415 AD the last time one did (ending Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants). I am looking forward to sharing news about the next papal election, especially as it is covered using all the new social media.