Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation 18


The Pope’s address to the Consistory, followed by a brief reflection and commentary from Biltrix

The Official Story (from Vatican Radio)

Full text of Pope’s declaration

Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 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 with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013 

BENEDICTUS PP XVI

Saint Peter’s Chair

One of the things that struck me and stuck with me  from Pope Benedict’s Inaugural Mass was the firm affirmation, “I am not the successor of John Paul II. I am the sucessor of Saint Peter.”

Pope Benedict understood well from the beginning of his pontificate the significance of his role in the Church and the importance of that role in every historical moment. The mission of the Pope is to Shepherd the people of God, to follow in the footsteps of the living Christ, not to fill the shoes of another mortal man.

Today, that mission comes with enormous challenges, several within the Church, and several facing it from the outside. The next successor of Peter will inherit a task that no man would want to carry on his shoulders. We thank Pope Benedict for his bravery and fidelity serving the Church during these very difficult years.

Incidentally, the Pope chose to announcement of his resignation at an opportune time. Later this month, on February 22, we celebrate the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter. In just over a week after that feast, the Chair will be vacant.

Let us remember two things as that occasion approaches. We honor and love the man for who he is, what he has done, and what he has given us during the past 8 years. Above all, we honor the man not just for who he is, but for the office he holds and the mission he bears as the Vicar of Christ.

“Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” — Luke 10:16

Pope-Benedict-at-Loreto-HouseYou might also be interested in reading:

From Archbishop Charles Chaput

From his work as a young theologian at Vatican II to his ministry as universal pastor of the Church, Joseph Ratzinger has served God and the global Christian community with intelligence, eloquence and extraordinary self-sacrifice.

As Pope Benedict XVI, he has led God’s people through complicated times with uncommon grace, and his stepping down now, at 85, from the burdens of his office is another sign of his placing the needs of the Church above his own. Catholics worldwide owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude. He will remain in our hearts and always be in our prayers.

18 comments

  1. I always liked Pope Benedict, waaay before he ever became Pope.

    Everything that I’ve personally witnessed in the last few years informs me that the pendulum is swinging back to a more traditional, stronger view of what being Catholic truly means – and I pray that view is held by our new Pope.

    • The past two pontiffs have set the tone for the Church’s mission of New Evangelization in the Third Millennium. I believe we can trust the Holy Spirit to continue guiding the next Successor of Peter in this task. He will also have our prayers and support.

      Thanks for standing with the Pope, JTR!

  2. Sorry to see Pope Benedict go.

    Obviously choosing of the next pope should be driven by the Holy Spirit and prayer but I wonder if age should be more of a factor. Thoughts?

    • “Thoughts” is the word, Terence. I believe the Holy Spirit enlightens the thoughts of the cardinals in the conclave, and I’m sure that age is one factor they will all be considering, but certainly not the only or the most important factor. Taking that into account, I’d like to shift the focus from thoughts to prayers. They’ll need them! As will the whole Church.

    • And we all will. Thanks for sharing this, Catholic Salmon.

      I remember the last time Pope John Paul II appeared at his window in the Vatican on Easter Sunday of 2005. I always tuned in for his Urbi et Orbi address every Christmas and Easter to hear him speak in all those languages. When I saw him at the window, trying to speak and not able to, my eyes teared up. I knew then that he would not be with us very long and I whispered the words, “Don’t go, Holy Father!” as he withdrew back into his apartment.

      A week later he was in Heaven.

      So the announcement from Pope Benedict brought back those bitter-sweet memories for me today. I’m just very glad that he still has a lot of life left in him, I hope. And as long as God continues to give him life, I’m sure we will still hear from him from time to time. In a way this shocking news comes with a unique blessing.

  3. It takes a lot to step down from a position like that of the Pope, knowing full well that the world will draw its own conclusions for good or bad. Pope Benedict did a lot for the Church and I admire his humility in admitting that through prayer with God he has come to the realization he simply cannot continue to lead the Church. I pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in choosing a new Pope and know that the Church will remain strong.

  4. After I looked in my emails this morning and saw the news I was both in disbelief and saddened. One thing I am having trouble understanding is someone like JPII was able to continue as Pope with having Parkinson’s disease but Pope Benedict isn’t going to continue as Pope til death and doesn’t seem as ill. The Church, Pope Benedict, and the Conclave of Cardinals need our prayers. I hope the trend continues with our next pope supporting traditional Catholicism.

    • Both Popes, I believe, made their decision on how to carry their cross before God in prayer. We all saw John Paul II’s heroic witness of suffering all the way to the end. Benedict witnessed his suffering very closely and he also witnessed the effects this had on the internal affairs of the Church.

      Now, seeing the challenges facing the Church from within and from the outside, not to mention problems within the Vatican (the man was robbed and betrayed by his own butler, what an embarrassment and a scandal that was), Pope Benedict has come to determine what would be best for the Church and the world at this time is for him to step aside and allow someone more capable to take the reigns.

      So many good things can come out of this, if it is God’s will. Practically speaking, the next pope will be able to travel to World Youth Day in Brazil without the same health concerns and perhaps invigorate the young people there in just the right way for the Holy Spirit to transform the Church in that country. Who knows who that man will be? I’m looking forward to it.

      • Thank you for your well thought out explanation on how the two popes are able to be faithful and following God’s will even though one died a pontiff and the other is resigning. They both dealt with different situations in different times and did what they thought best for the Church. God Bless.

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