I got a text earlier, asking me if it were true that the Pope had resigned. I hadn’t heard so checked on line to see, sure enough, he had announced his resignation which will take effect from 8pm on February 28th. The media coverage is widespread, the analysis of his life and ministry intense and the comment, in general, very kind. Interesting times ahead for sure.
For now, let’s wish him well on this day. There is no doubt his decision, finalised on the World Day of Prayer for The Sick, unites him with many worldwide who feel the burden of years and the limitations caused by ill-health.
We remember him, them and all who are sick on this day and pray words I heard prayed and repeated in Knock many times over the years …
“Lord, the one you love is sick ….
Lord that he may see,
Lord that he may hear,
Lord that he may talk,
Lord that he may walk …..
Lord, the one you love is sick ……”
TEXT OF RESIGNATION ADDRESS
(Speaking to Cardinals gathered in Rome this morning)
“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.
“BENEDICTUS PP XVI”