Pope Benedict’s Historic Announcement Of His Resignation


Pope Benedict XVI Visits Santiago de Compostela

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. These are the words Pope Benedict XVI spoke today during a meeting of Vatican cardinals as he announced his resignation at the end of February. He is the first pope in more than 600 years to resign. The last pope to make this decision was Pope Gregory XII, stepping down in 1415.

 

What a shock to wake up this morning and read this headline! I have a deep love and respect for the popes I have known in my lifetime, as most Catholics do. There have been five popes in my life since I was born: Blessed John XXIII (1958-63), Paul VI (1963-78), John Paul I (1978), John Paul II (1978-2005), Benedict XVI (2005—), and now, God willing, I will come to know another. And as Pope Benedict completes his call as a successor of Peter, I can’t help but reflect upon the deep integrity and steadfast courage it has taken the him to lead the global Church in the last 8 years – something our future popes will undoubtedly need to shepherd the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

 

Cardinal Ratzinger, as he was known before he became pope in 2005, has long been heralded as the “bulldog,” the man who stood firmly against heresy. He was the first pope to make a public apology to the world for the sexual scandals involving Catholic priests. He remained unflinchingly committed to the truth while his critics labeled him “out of touch with the 21st century” because of his loyalty to the truth on issues such as women priests, the sanctity, permanence and true definition of marriage, and the evils of abortion and contraception.

 

Our world, today, has been infected by apathy – viewing religion as something that is only necessary to keep people on their best behavior. Once religion is separated from the truth – and it is done so by so many people who believe it is irrelevant to their lives – moral codes become simply one person’s opinion of what is right and what is wrong. 

 

Pope Benedict has been an example to us all on how to live in the face of these criticisms of being “old fashioned.” The truth is the truth. A squares has four sides. There are no 5-sided squares and it would be absurd to call someone a biggot or out of touch if he insisted that a square had four sides.

 

But more than his stance on truth in all things, Pope Benedict brought compassion to the discussion of these issues. In 2005, just shortly after his election to the papacy, he addressed priests, religious and deacons on the issue of divorce and remarriage without an annulment, stating:

 

“You all know that this [divorce] is a particularly painful situation. Given these people’s situation of suffering, it must be studied… None of us has a ready-made solution because each person’s situation is different… The Christian faith involves giving oneself to the community of the Church, a community that promises each believer that he or she will never be left alone in suffering and that calls each Catholic to reach out to others…” (Comments on Ministry to Divorced and Civilly-Remarried Catholics, July 25, 2005).

 

As he announced his retirement, Pope Benedict concluded by saying:

 

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.

 

Yes, let us pray for Pope Benedict and the college of cardinals as they proceed to elect a new pope. As a single Catholic, you can look to Pope Benedict XVI’s example on how to remain grounded in the truth in a society that is steeped in indifference. Personally, although I am sad to see Pope Benedict resign, I look forward to the opportuntiy to once again, be present at such an historic time in the Church when we elect a new pope.

 






33 Comments

  1. Fallas-559221 February 11, 2013 Reply

    I admire Pope Benedict XVI for his integrity and courage. Now is our duty to offer our prayers and sacrifices for Cardinal Fathers who will have the great responsability to elect a new Supreme Pointiff.

    • Ana-912605 February 12, 2013 Reply

      That’s the best we can do – pray for the Holy Father and his successor! The “gates of hell will never prevail” and two thousand years later, God is faithful to his word!

  2. Fallas-559221 February 11, 2013 Reply

    Let us pray for Pope Benedict XVI and for the new Pope: Auditorium nostrum in nomine Domini.

  3. Francine-132290 February 11, 2013 Reply

    I think Cardinal Ratzinger is demonstrating common sense and wisdom to step out of his functions at his age. God bless him, along with one who will replace him.

    • Jarrett-828434 February 12, 2013 Reply

      I am glad you believe the pope used good judgement in stepping down. I am willing to believe he pope would know what is best for the church. I am discouraged that you are unaware of what papal infallibility actually is as I viewed your profile. If you read the bible, you beleive in papal infallibility. If you are a Catholic you should believe in papal infallibility, as it does not mean that the pope can not error, but that in council as in the Nicene Council, or the Vatican 1 and 2 councils we believe that decisions are made in the holy spirit and guided by Christ. If you say the Nicene Crede you should believe in Papal Infallibility, as it was Christ who converted the Roman Empire.

      • Melissa-780734 February 16, 2013 Reply

        What worries me is when I look at these profiles and see so many do not accept the teachings on pre-marital sex or contraceptives. I would think if they accept Papal infallibility, they’d accept what the Catechism says about contraceptives and pre-marital sex.

        • Gregory-867645 March 2, 2013 Reply

          I couldn’t agree more Melissa. There never is a great theological argument for these stances against what the church teaches, only prideful ones.

  4. Matthew-901636 February 11, 2013 Reply

    I hope Cardinal Dolan is his successor! But hey, God’s will be done. Praying for Pope Benedict XVI.

    • Rollanda-905758 February 11, 2013 Reply

      I agree and will continue to pray as well.

    • Melissa-780734 February 16, 2013 Reply

      He’d be a great, charismatic choice. But only Rome and God knows if he’d be ready or the right choice. It’d be easy for me, as a New Yorker, to say, yes, pick Dolan! But maybe Dolan is needed to be the Pope’s hand in America. America needs all the help it can get.

  5. Carlos-923941 February 11, 2013 Reply

    The point is: suposing I get tired from Jesus and his Beloved bridegroom, should I step down too? By no means! From what or from whom is he quitting?
    I remember one of those aparitions of Our Lady which se says:
    A pope will flee from the Petrine’s throne. dont u

    • Cathy-620979 February 11, 2013 Reply

      He’s not abandoning the faith or turning his back on the Church. He is doing what he feels is best for the Church. He should be applauded.

  6. Rollanda-905758 February 11, 2013 Reply

    Praying for Pope Benedict XVI and for the Cardinals who must choose a new Supreme Pointiff.

  7. Daniel-900865 February 11, 2013 Reply

    I will not trouble myself with matters too sublime for me

  8. Chris-427945 February 11, 2013 Reply

    Actually, he was known as “God’s Rottweiler” due his being a native German. I’ve never heard of him being heralded as “the Bulldog”.

    • Lisa-727959 February 12, 2013 Reply

      Yes, Chris, he’s known as God’s Rottweiler, but also as the “bulldog.” Click on the link and you will see the reference. I’ve known many over the years who have referred to him this way.

  9. Andre-713286 February 11, 2013 Reply

    In practical terms, Benedict XVI was unable to keep up with the demands of a Pope in the 21st century.

    It might seem that it was a less-than-courageous decision, but reality is: times have changed. The amount, complexity of decisions and the exposure to the media have intensified especially over the last decade. Imagine having a CEO that is 85+ years old…. people in business retire much younger than that. Any of us want to retire much younger than that.

    I hope the Cardinals assimilate that the reality of tending the Catholics requires an amount of energy and preparation that Cardinal Ratzinger didn’t have.

  10. Brenda-74660 February 12, 2013 Reply

    I remember when Pope Benedict was elected in 2005, I especially remember I was picking someone up at the Oklahoma City Airport and while I waited on the Flight I saw Archbishop Beltran returning to Oklahoma with a companion from just having gone to Rome to pray while the new Pope was elected. There was a glow about the Archbishop & Abbott Lawrence as they were talking to each other. I remember saying a prayer for them at the time, I found out later that they were just returning from Rome. For me being there to see their return felt like such a blessing to me.

  11. Olive-916520 February 12, 2013 Reply

    God Bless Pope Benedict. He must know his own health and what is good for us. I have always though very high of him. Wish him well.

  12. Jarrett-828434 February 12, 2013 Reply

    Although this decision by Pope Benedict XVI was made out of council, we must accept that our beloved pope has acted in what he believes to be the best interest of the Church. Now we will see a new cloud of smoke from the chapel.
    I have no opinion in this matter but hope for the best. Thank you Pope Benedict XVI for your courage.

  13. Rafael-758039 February 12, 2013 Reply

    Althrough this decision by Pope I think to be the best interest of the Church. In my opinion the Cadinals needs to elect a new and and mean a new with the faith we have now. A younger Pope to be on front for several years.

  14. Yolanda-497868 February 12, 2013 Reply

    I would like to think that Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign (as the other previous Popes’ decision to continue) was a result of his discernment of God’s Will, through a process of abundant prayer and sacrifice. Thank you Holy Father for your gift to the Church and the world.

  15. Mike-646924 February 12, 2013 Reply

    I think this news is a SHOCK to all of us that the POPE is stepping down; due to healthreasons and probably other reasons all we can do is pray for our beloved POPE; he’s what? (about) 85? so yeah maybe he did make the right decision to step down; Now before you all; maybe get upset with (me) Now i don’t mean to sound selfish; about our POPE; I kind of wish maybe (just maybe) if he resigned (steped down) after Easter; maybe just say one easter mass; Hard yes on the pope but; We are going into lent: And I hate to sound selfish; But i think the POPES timing (wasn’t to good) so now you all don’t git upset with that i know our POPE isn’t in the best of health i think for some reason its the timing of him stepping down; My opinion folks Mike “Peace”!!

    • Jarrett-828434 February 12, 2013 Reply

      Mike, I can see and understand your point of view.

    • Lois-765906 February 12, 2013 Reply

      I respectfully disagree with Mike because if our Holy Father has some pressing medical concerns, we should be grateful that he has made it this far. (My own mother is now 87 and when she turned 85, began having excruciating pain and has been unable to function.) Several years ago, our Holy Father hinted that should he become infirm, he would depart. At the onset of his Pontificate, he was one of the oldest to be elected. Obviously he believes the time has come to leave and it must be urgent for him to not extend his stay through Lent. I think we should be praying for our next Pope and that the College of Cardinals make a wise choice. IMHO

    • Rollanda-905758 February 12, 2013 Reply

      Mike I know will be sad starting with our Pope now and getting a new one in the middle. I totally understand. I know he did what was best. I will pray for you as I pray for our Pope and Cardinals, that God will help and be with all of you. Thank you Pope Benedict XVI for all you have done for us, may you truly feel God with you.

  16. Nigel-748943 February 12, 2013 Reply

    I strongly respect the Holy Father’s decision to resign from the burdensome position of the Papacy.

    Pope Benedict XVI has given impeccable, selfless, and tireless, Christian service to the Roman Catholic Church.

    I pray and hope that the Holy Spirit will guide the Roman Catholic Church’s Cardinals, in electing a suitable successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

    I hope that the Cardinals will return to tradition, by electing an ITALIAN Pope, for the following reasons :
    1. Italy is the headquarters of Roman Catholicism (Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, was martyred in Rome).
    2. An Italian Pope will feel comfortable with the culture and language of his native Italy.
    3. An Italian Pope will be able to govern the Roman Catholic Church with authority, and optimum ease.

    The fact that a non-Italian Cardinal does not become Pope should make that non-Italian Cardinal more united to the Italian Pope.

    Finally, I wish Pope Benedict XVI good health, happiness, peace, and prosperity.

    Yours sincerely,
    Nigel.
    748943.

  17. Linda-666928 February 13, 2013 Reply

    Un rayo impacta en la punta de la basílica de San Pedro ,el mismo día que el papa Benedicto XVI anunció oficialmente su renuncia. QUE MENSAJE DESEA DAR DIOS CON ESTE RAYO??

    SEÑALES DEL CIELO CAYERON,DIOS SIENTE DEBILIDAD CON EL PAPA

    VIRGEN DE LOURDES 11 DE FEBRERO DEL 2013 EL PAPA BENEDICTO XVI RENUNCIA A SU PAPADO,ELIGE ESTE MAJESTUOSO DIA PORQUE SIENTE ADMIRACION POR LA VIRGEN DE LOURDES.

    QUE MENSAJE DESEA DAR DIOS CON ESTE RAYO??

  18. Linda-666928 February 13, 2013 Reply

    Lightning hits the top of the Basilica of San Pedro?, The same day that Pope Benedict XVI officially announced his resignation. MESSAGE THAT GOD WANTS TO GIVE THIS LIGHTNING??

    SIGNS of heaven fell, God feels WEAKNESS WITH POPE

    OUR LADY OF LOURDES? February 11, 2013? POPE BENEDICT XVI? DISCLAIMS his papacy, WHY CHOOSE THIS DAY STATELY admires Lady of Lourdes.

    MESSAGE THAT GOD WANTS TO GIVE THIS LIGHTNING??

  19. Fallas-559221 February 18, 2013 Reply

    Bien Linda: San Pablo fue impactado por una luz a priori a su conversión. Dios utiliza diversas formas para manifestar su presencia. Todavía es muy temprano para decifrar el mensaje. El tiempo nos dará la respuesta.

    Well Linda: St Paul was struck by a light before his conversion. God uses many ways to manifest his presence. It´s still early to decipher the message. Time will give the answer.

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