An excerpt I took from the Anchoress which reminds us how tough that job is:
Whenever I think of Rome, and I do several times a day, I whisper up a prayer for our good pope in the Vatican, who is such an earnest, hard-working shepherd. He is wise and obedient in ways that continue to leave me almost breathless in humble wondering:
Although his meeting with some of the victims of the shameful sex abuse scandals was private and unseen, I suspect Benedict wore that same expression, and carried himself in that same resolute manner, as he allowed himself to be led where he would rather not go, placed into the presence of the church’s deepest wound — a wound of horror, confusion, evil, and betrayal. The terrible sin of some of our priests, compounded by their bishops, has been a source of sickening and unrelenting shame for us. We have felt the disgust in our bellies and wished we could push the whole story away, because the pain is so abysmal and vast. But it can be pushed away no longer, and Benedict said that even before his plane hit the ground at Andrews AFB, and every day after.
But speaking difficult words is easier than looking into the eyes of innocent lambs wounded and left to fend for themselves by neglectful and self-interested shepherds within the family. Benedict trusted and was led to look into those agonized eyes, and to tend the wounds, because it needed to be done if the flock is to survive.
Benedict is like a beast of burden, bearing enormous weight; he shrugs off nothing, and his walk is resolutely forward, his step firm. And all he’s asked for is prayer:
“Pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”
God bless and keep him.