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Pope Benedict and the Holy Grail

February 11, AD2013 5 Comments



With the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI\’s resignation, this image was being shown on the ABC Special Reports.

What struck me most, aside from the announcement itself, was the chalice the Pope was raising.

Written about in St. Laurence & the Holy Grail, it appears to be the Holy Chalice of Valencia, depicted in this painting:


While there are many stories of the Holy Grail and the Catholic Encyclopedia treats the subject most comprehensively here, Robert Johnson\’s book He: Understanding Masculine Psychology describes how the quest for it explains what men, including the Pope, are finally after in pursuing it. Some recent documentaries even suggest that Adolf Hitler sought it in his own quest for ultimate power. In the movies, of course, we have the fictional version of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

So symbolically it may seem to many that Pope Benedict XVI is giving up the most powerful position in the world and thus limiting, perhaps, his access to the Holy Grail.

\”Why?\” they surely are asking.

Let us listen with our whole mind, heart, soul and spirit to what the Pope says:

\”\”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 am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.\”

My sense, from afar, is that our Pope does not see the Holy Grail as just a material object to be sought after. Nor does he see it as a source of power to be wielded in the real politics of the world like a Hitler might have wanted to, thinking it had magical powers. Rather, our Pope recognizes the realities of his older age, remembers how his predecessor Pope John Paul II endured his last years, while still governing the Church, and now, with God\’s help, wants to do something just as important at the end of his life. What?

Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI wants now to serve us with his example of how to more fully become in ourselves the Holy Grail so that, especially in our last years, we will want to be more personally the vessel to hold the Body and Blood of Christ until we pour it out completely in the most loving ways our God calls each of us to do.

Long live, Pope Benedict XVI!


Photography: See our Photographers page.

Filed in: Faith & Spirituality • Tags:

About the Author:

John Darrouzet is a successful Hollywood screenwriter, an accomplished lawyer, a student of decision-making, and a deeply committed Roman Catholic layman who is FINDING FAITH AT THE MOVIES. Read more about John here.

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  • Kurtis POdgorski

    I am having some trouble in my faith and i need some guidance. If there is some one that can help me i would be great full. Thank you for your time.

    • Kurtis, we can share out stories and offer encouragement, but for spiritual guidance, you need a priest. If you have any questions about contacting one, we can try to help with that. Many of us have been there. God bless you.


  • Sophie

    THe Blessed Pope John Paul II held out with frailing health to serve as an example that it is alright to suffer with illness and how to make it into a means of offering and unity with the cross of Christ. Bec of his example, I was able to support my dad’s terminal illness and suffering in the most supernatural of way. No thoughts of euthanasia ever came through our mind.

    I know God has a plan, a divine plan why the current Holy Father had come to this prayerful decision. There are things unknown to us that really need a Shepherd to be of strong body and mind. I pray for the next successor of Peter to have the strength to steer the ship of Christ.

    • You rightly characterize this as a most significant decision by Pope Benedict XVI. It is not simply a judgment based on what has past, nor a choice to address only present concerns.

      It is a decision aimed at future courses of action, not only on his part, but on behalf of all the People of God and his Holy Catholic Church.