Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict Announces He is Resigning Effective Feb. 28

I am in shock, still hoping I am going to wake up. Pope Benedict will become the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.

Taking over in the large shadow of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI has nonetheless been a "great" himself. His theological contributions to the Church, efforts to forge unity, restoration of the liturgy and implementation of the vision of Vatican II, bringing the Gospel into the social media, and so on, speak for themselves. There is no greater theologian pope in recent centuries. The successes of these past eight years will not be fully perceived by our generation. Here is the declaratio on the Vatican page.

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 barque 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

Don't we all wish we had Pope Benedict's defects? Though Pope Benedict may be stepping down because of declining health and strength, the Church today is stronger, healthier, and more unified than it was in 2005. The Church, as always, is in the hands of the Holy Spirit, Who has guided her mightily through the ages. Through the intercession of Our Lady, I am confident that the next pope will continue to pursue the vision of the Holy Spirit for our day. For now, I hope that we will all save the discussion of who we think is going to be the next pope until the conclave. Let us enjoy the final weeks of Benedict XVI's excellent pontificate.

Viva Papa Benedetto!

For more, see Whispers in the Loggia.