I’ll be honest: yesterday’s news from the Vatican came as a complete shock to me. As I was getting ready to get out of bed, my nurse read the words on the bottom of the tv screen, “Pope announces resignation.” No, that can’t be right, I thought. “Where do you see that!?” That can’t be right, “maybe the Vatican computers got hacked.” Well, soon enough the disbelief subsided and I learned that it was true–the Pope had really announced his resignation.
It seems to me that the Pope makes this decision with humility and love for the Church. He has, in full consultation with the Holy Spirit, determined that his physical energies “are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.” The Pope went on to say the following:
“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.”
I understand the Pope’s decision but it’s still sad to see him go. When Pope Benedict was elected I was ecstatic at the Holy Spirit’s choice. For the 8 great years of the Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, I am grateful. Thank you Holy Father!! And thank you for giving us this Year of Faith, because we really need it!!