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By Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
There is so much being written about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. The most basic question asked is whether a pope may resign. There is now no dispute about the legal possibility of a resignation. Canon Law is very clear: “If it should happen that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required that he make his resignation freely, and that it be duly manifested, but not that it be accepted by anyone.”
At around midnight, Manila time, Pope Benedict XVI will leave the Vatican grounds by helicopter; about three hours after that, he will become the first pontiff to resign the papacy in six centuries, and the seat of St. Peter will be declared vacant. Who will be chosen to take that seat will help determine whether the challenges that currently confront the Catholic Church will be met with clarity and resolve, or will continue to undermine the rock on which the Catholic faith rests.
When Pope Benedict XVI made his stunning announcement to “renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter,” believers and nonbelievers alike searched for historical parallels to make sense of the resignation. As many know by now, the last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415—a date so far removed from modern times that the phrase “New World” had not yet even been coined, much less “discovered.”
The resignation of Interior Undersecretary Rico E. Puno, tendered last Friday and accepted on Monday, after he had met with President Aquino, is long overdue. On the President’s much-ballyhooed tuwid na daan, or straight path, Puno was perceived in unflattering metaphorical terms: either as an obstacle on the way or a crook in the road.
By Solita Collas-Monsod
There was a rumor at the beginning of the impeachment brouhaha, attributed to those close to the center of action, which I dismissed at the time because I could not believe anyone could be so stupid or arrogant. But now I am not so sure.
If you catch your domestic help in possession of your lost valuable belongings but you came to know about this through illicit means, will you still trust her and keep her under your employ? When a chief justice is untruthful in his sworn statements about his wealth, concealing his loots in various bank accounts because he is fully aware of the existence of the bank secrecy law, will you still repose the highest level of trust in him?
Chief Justice Renato Corona should consider resigning now for several reasons:
By Artemio V. Panganiban
When it became clear that he had lost his people’s trust, US President Richard Nixon voluntarily resigned from the most powerful position in the most powerful country in the world, rather than face the ignominy of a public impeachment trial in the US Senate. He courageously accepted the essential truth that he had lost the fitness and the ascendancy to lead his people.
By Neal H. Cruz
It looks like most lawyers have given up on saving impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona. At the Kapihan sa Manila at the Diamond Hotel last Monday, all the four guests unanimously agreed that Corona can no longer stay in the Supreme Court even if he is acquitted. In the words of former Sen. Rene Saguisag, Corona is “very badly damaged goods.”
The latest survey shows Chief Justice Renato Corona is the least trusted among the top officials in the national government. And why am I not surprised? His speech last month at the Supreme Court, in response to a scathing rebuke by President Aquino earlier, tells me very clearly that the man does not deserve to sit in a lofty position of responsibility, if his gutter language and convoluted logic are any indication.
In the recent First National Criminal Justice System Summit, President Aquino unleashed a knock-out blow on Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Conrado de Quiros’ Dec. 5 column, titled “Resign,” is his strongest criticism yet against the Supreme Court, often called disparagingly the “Arroyo Court.” It is rich in irony, full of wisdom and written in his usual inimitable style.