In my naivete, I did not perceive the forces that were working night and day to destroy the Benedictine renewal. They waited, they worked, they plotted, and, in what has become a familiar narrative, they seized back power with a vengeance, fiercely committed to ensuring that it would not slip from their grasp so easily again. What Benedict did would be undone; what they would do could never be reversed.

We do not know the mind of God, but the evidence suggests that Providence does not favor papal abdication. Celestine’s resignation cracked the foundation of Christendom—the polity based upon the principle that even a king must answer to God, whose voice speaks through the Church. The resignation of Joseph Ratzinger was the greatest defeat for the cause of culture in fifty years.