Feb 11, 2013 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Full statement released today by Vatican:
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.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
Excerpted from NBC News: Updated at 7:57 a.m. ET: ROME — Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday he will resign on February 28 as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, saying he no longer has the strength to carry out his duties.
The 85-year-old announced his decision during an address, in Latin, at the “Concistory for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto”, a small event held early in the morning.
The decision, which took even the Vatican hierarchy by surprise, makes him the first pope to resign since the Middle Ages.
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His statement was posted on the Vatican Radio website.
Carrying out the duties of being pope required “both strength of mind and body,” it said.
“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,” the pontiff’s statement said.
The choice was a “decision of great importance” for the church, the statement added.
There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner, The Associated Press reported.
Contenders to be his successor include Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the archbishop of Vienna, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican’s office for bishops.
Reuters quoted a Vatican spokesman as saying the pontiff did not fear schism in the Church following his resignation.
Luke Coppen, editor of UK newspaper The Catholic Herald, told the Daily Telegraph: “Pope Benedict’s pontificate has been full of surprises. This is the biggest one of all.”
‘A decision of great courage’
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said that the pope’s announcement had “shocked and surprised everyone.”
“Yet, on reflection, I am sure that many will recognize it to be a decision of great courage and characteristic clarity of mind and action,” he added.
Born in Bavaria, Germany, in 1927, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became the 265th pope in April 2005, describing himself “a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.”
Ratzinger served in the Hitler Youth during World War Two when membership was compulsory. He was never a member of the Nazi party and his family opposed Adolf Hitler’s regime.
His tough stance on theological issues had earned him the nickname “God’s rottweiler.” He was the oldest pope elected in nearly 300 years, according to The Associated Press.
The last pope to step aside was Gregory XII in 1415, who did so in order to end the Great Western Schism. The last papal abdication was in Celestine V in 1294.
Greg Burke, senior communications adviser to the Holy See, confirmed the pope will step down on February 28 at 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET), leaving the office vacant until a successor is chosen.
The Associated Press added:
The move sets the stage for the Vatican to hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope doesn’t have to be observed.
Reuters noted that Benedict XVI “ruled over a slower-paced, more cerebral and less impulsive Vatican.”
But while conservatives cheered him for trying to reaffirm traditional Catholic identity, his critics accused him of turning back the clock on reforms by nearly half a century and hurting dialogue with Muslims, Jews and other Christians. …
After appearing uncomfortable in the limelight at the start, he began feeling at home with his new job and showed that he intended to be pope in his way.
Despite great reverence for his charismatic, globe-trotting predecessor — whom he put on the fast track to sainthood and whom he beatified in 2011 — aides said he was determined not to change his quiet manner to imitate John Paul’s style. …
The first German pope for some 1,000 years and the second non-Italian in a row, he traveled regularly, making about four foreign trips a year, but never managed to draw the oceanic crowds of his predecessor.