Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pope Benedict Retires

Important news, everyone! Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will retire on Feb. 28th, due to age.  He is 85 years old, and his body is not strong enough to keep going through the demands and busy schedule that rest upon the Pope.

There are two pieces of information that strike me as relevant at this time.

1. When Pope Benedict was Cardinal Ratzinger, he once turned in his resignation; he claimed that he was getting old, and he wanted to spend the rest of his life living quietly, working on his books. Pope John Paul II turned down his resignation at that time.

2.  Pope John Paul II fell ill near the end of his life, and he was forced to scale back almost all of his activities.  Cardinal Ratzinger advised him to resign, due to illness.  As Pope Benedict XVI, he has occasionally affirmed his belief that a Pope who cannot fulfill his duties due to age or illness should resign.

Here is the text of his official announcement:
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.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I really respect his decision to resign. I think people forget that the position of Pope is still a job and, during this period in which the Church faces constant challenge, the Pope needs to be of strong body and mind. It's certainly rare for the Pope to resign (I think the last resignation was about 6 centuries ago...), but I think Pope Benedict's decision was made with the best intentions for the Church in mind.