Of course, there are the haters.
Michelle Malkin's crew at Twitchy has those reactions but be warned, they're particularly vile.
And, incredibly but not really, there are haters within the Church:
Perhaps I’m rushing to judgment and I don’t know all the facts, but my first
reaction is “coward”.
This is crazy. Presidents resign not popes.
I’m really pissed. It’s like a father abandoning his children to wild dogs.
And then there are the sane, the loving, those who recognize this Pope as a giant amongst St. Peter's successors.
Of course I would go to The Anchoress first:
In the Pope’s most recent tweet, our dear Papa had this to say to us: We must trust in the mighty power of God’s mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new.
Maybe he looked at it too and thought. “I just can’t.”
Except I am sure it wasn’t that simple. Benedict being who he is, I’m sure he prayed deeply over this decision.
And because he is known to be a considerate man, I am equally certain that if he felt he could manage the rigorous papal schedule of Lent and Holy Week, he would not thoughtlessly throw a new man into those arduous proceedings if he felt he could do it, himself.
She of course has much more and appears to be updating the post frequently.
Mark Shea, living up to that wicked sense of humor always on display, writes:
Best commentary so far: “The Pope is really setting a high bar for giving something up for Lent.”
Some are taking odds on who the successor might be, and add a twist:
Paddy Power has switched from backing Ghana's CardinalPeter Turkson as favourite to Cardinal Mark Ouellet of Canada. Ouellet is 11/4 and Turkson is 3/1.
William Hill has also abandoned Turkson, placing Nigerian Francis Arinze at the top of the list, at 3/1. Ouellet and Turkson are joint second at 7/2.
In addition Paddy Power has installed Richard Dawkins at "666/1" to become the next pope.
Mr. Dawkins, a hateful man, tweeted:
I feel sorry for the Pope and all old Catholic priests. Imagine having a wasted life to look back on and no sex.— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) February 11, 2013
Speaking of succession, here's what Vatican watcher Rocco Palmer had to say:
Shortly after Benedict XVI announced his resignation as Roman pontiff, effective 28 February, the following clarification on the future status of the first Pope to retire in six centuries was issued by the lead Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi:Pope Benedict XVI has given his resignation freely, in accordance with Canon 332 §2 of the Code of Canon Law.Pope Benedict XVI will not take part in the Conclave for the election of his successor.Pope Benedict XVI will move to the Papal residence in Castel Gandolfo when his resignation shall become effective.When renovation work on the monastery of cloistered nuns inside the Vatican is complete, the Holy Father will move there for a period of prayer and reflection.
Here is il Papa's last tweet:
We must trust in the mighty power of God’s mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new.— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) February 10, 2013
As someone who has returned to his Catholic roots under this man's leadership, someone who's read some insightful and helpful stuff from him, I will miss him, as I'm sure many will. And the haters hate him because he actually stands for Truth, something that seriously gets under their skin.
May the next Pope be as effective, as passionate, as Pope Benedict XVI has.