John L. Allen Jr., the National Catholic Reporter's Vatican correspondent, makes a four-point case for why Pope John Paul II should not resign. Here are two especially strong paragraphs:
"Second, many observers believe that John Paul II is providing precious testimony about the inherent value of human life, from beginning to end. In a culture that worships youth, beauty and efficiency, his reminder that elderly and infirm people can provide important contributions is perhaps a valuable one.
. . . The Catholic Church regards the pope as important principally for who he is, not what he does Â— the living center of unity for a global family of faith. For him to resign because he is no longer an effective administrator would, in the eyes of some, compromise the church's teaching about the nature of the papal office."