We will be getting a new Pope, a new Bishop of Rome, a new Cardinal to fill the Chair of St. Peter, so how can we use this opportunity to teach our kids, deepen our understanding of the Catholic Church, and prayer for our community? There are several great resources below.
Popes usually die as pope and by "usually" I mean that the last Pope to abdicate rather than die as pope was Pope Gregory XII in 1415 AD and he was forced to abdicate to end the Western Schism. This moment in history is a great opportunity to educate ourselves, pray for our Church, and to teach our kids about a myriad of relevant topics. To figure out where to start, let's look at Dr. Joseph White's suggestions for age appropriateness in talking with our kids:
"Age 6 and below: The experience of church for children this age is usually limited to their family’s own religious practice and their local parish. It’s difficult for them to conceive of a worldwide Church...
Ages 7 to 10: Children this age often know some information about the pope and his role. They also tend to be very rule-oriented, so they will need to know that even though a pope is usually chosen for life, it’s not “against the rules” for the pope to resign...
Ages 11 and above: If they have been in religion classes for most of their school years, kids this age usually know more about the pope and the process for his election..."
To read Dr. White's full article, click here.
D. Scott Miller, Director of the Division of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese of Baltimore has a relatively comprehensive list of articles, resources, and prayers for families and especially appropriate for Middle Schooler through Young Adults on his blog post: A Catechetical Moment.
To highlight some of his list:
Busted Halo Video: How Do They Choose a Pope?
LifeTeen’s Mark Hart: Why do we have a Pope? Is it Biblical?
Pope Benedict Speaks to Young People
Vatican Radio: Full Text of Pope's Resignation at End of Month
Busted Halo’s Dr. Tom Gibbons: A Brave Decision
Questions? Let's chat. While we await our new Pope, let us pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to guide our Church and guide the College of Cardinals in their discernment and voting process.