POPE RENOUNCES PAPAL THRONE: Vatican City, 11 February 2013: The Holy Father, at the end of day's consistory for causes for canonization, announced his resignation from ministry as Bishop of Rome to the College of Cardinals. He said in Latin: "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 barque 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."
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, I offer a warm and affectionate greeting to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors who have joined me for this, my last General Audience. Like Saint Paul, whose words we heard earlier, my heart is filled with thanksgiving to God who ever watches over his Church and her growth in faith and love, and I embrace all of you with joy and gratitude. During this Year of Faith, we have been called to renew our joyful trust in the Lord’s presence in our lives and in the life of the Church. I am personally grateful for his unfailing love and guidance in the eight years since I accepted his call to serve as the Successor of Peter. I am also deeply grateful for the understanding, support and prayers of so many of you, not only here in Rome, but also throughout the world. The decision I have made, after much prayer, is the fruit of a serene trust in God’s will and a deep love of Christ’s Church. I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new Pope. In union with Mary and all the saints, let us entrust ourselves in faith and hope to God, who continues to watch over our lives and to guide the journey of the Church and our world along the paths of history. I commend all of you, with great affection, to his loving care, asking him to strengthen you in the hope which opens our hearts to the fullness of life that he alone can give. To you and your families, I impart my blessing. Thank you!”
Vatican City, 28 February 2013 (VIS) – At 11:00am in the Clementine Hall, Benedict XVI greeted the College of Cardinals, whose dean, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, addressed a short farewell to the Pope on behalf of all those present.
“It is with great emotion,” he said, “that the Cardinal Fathers present in Rome gather around you today, to once again express to you their deep affection and heartfelt gratitude for your selfless witness of apostolic service, for the good of Christ's Church and of all humanity.”
The cardinal recalled the words that, last Saturday at the end of the Lenten Retreat, the Pope addressed to his collaborators in the Roman Curia: “I would like to thank all of you and not only for this week, but for these past eight years that you have borne with me—with great skill, affection, love, and faith—the weight of the Petrine ministry.”
“Beloved and revered Successor of Peter,” the cardinal exclaimed, “we are the ones who must thank you for the example you have given us in these eight years of your Pontificate. On 19 April, 2005, you joined the long line of successors of the Apostle Peter and today, 28 February, 2013, you are about to leave us, awaiting that the helm of Peter's Barque be transferred to other hands. Thus the apostolic succession, which the Lord promised to His Holy Church, will continue until the voice of the Angel of the Apocalypse is heard on earth, proclaiming 'Tempus non erit amplius ... consummabitur mysterium Dei' 'There shall be no more delay. ... The mysterious plan of God shall be fulfilled!' Thus will end the history of the Church, together with the history of the world, with the coming of a new heaven and a new earth.”
The dean of the College of Cardinals emphasized the “deep love” with which the cardinals have tried to accompany the Pope in his journey, and how the journey was a “reliving of the experience of the disciples of Emmaus who, after walking with Jesus for a good stretch of road, said to one another: 'Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way?'”
“Yes, Holy Father, know that our hearts were also burning when we were walking with you in these past eight years. Today we want to once again express to you our gratitude. We repeat together a typical expression of your dear native land: 'Vergelt's Gott', may God reward you!”
For his part, the Holy Father addressed the cardinals, returning to the reference of the disciples' experience on the way to Emmaus, saying: “For me as well, it has been a joy walking with you these past eight years in the light of the Risen Lord's presence. As I said yesterday, in front of the thousands of faithful who filled St. Peter's Square, your nearness and your advice have been a great help to me in my ministry. In these eight years we have faithfully lived beautiful moments of radiant light along the Church's journey along with times when clouds gathered in the skies. We have tried to serve Christ and His Church with a deep and total love, which is the soul of our ministry. We have given the hope that comes to us from Christ and that alone can light the way. Together we can thank the Lord, who has made us to grow in communion. Together we can ask Him to help you grow more in this deep unity, so that the College of Cardinals might be like an orchestra, where diversity, the expression of the universal Church, always contributes to greater and concordant harmony.”
He added: “I would like to leave you with a simple thought that is close to my heart: a thought regarding the Church and her mystery, which constitutes for all us, we can say, the reason and the passion of life. I will rely for help on an expression by Romano Guardini, written in the same year when the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council approved the Constitution 'Lumen Gentium'. It is from his final book, which he also personally dedicated for me. The words of this book, therefore, are particularly dear to me. Guardini says: 'The Church is not an institution devised and built by human beings ... but a living reality. ... It lives still throughout the course of time. Like all living realities it develops, it changes ... and yet in the very depths of its being it remains the same: its inmost nucleus is Christ.'“
“Our experience yesterday in the square thus seemed to me: seeing that the Church is a living body, animated by the Holy Spirit and truly alive by the power of God. It is in the world but not of the world: it is of God, of Christ, and of the Spirit. We saw this yesterday. This is why Guardini's other famous expression is true and eloquent: 'The Church is awakening within souls.' The Church lives, grows, and awakens in souls that—like the Virgin Mary—embrace the Word of God and conceive of it as the work of the Holy Spirit. The offer God their very flesh and, precisely in their poverty and humility, become capable of generating Christ today in the world. Through the Church, the Mystery of the Incarnation remains present forever. Christ continues to walk through all ages and places.”
“Let us remain united in this mystery, dear brothers; in prayer and especially in daily Eucharist, so that we might thus serve the Church and all of humanity. This is our joy, which no one can take from us.”
“Before greeting you personally I would like to tell you all that I will continue to be near to you in prayer, especially in the coming days, so that you may be fully docile to the Holy Spirit's action in electing the new Pope. May the Lord show you what He wills. Among you, among the College of Cardinals, is also the future Pope, to whom I already today promise my unconditioned reverence and obedience.”
On finishing his address, Benedict XVI greeted all the 144 cardinals and the other members of the Roman Curia present personally.
After eight years, the Pope said his final farewell to the Vatican last night with a flight into the sunset. The 85-year-old’s Italian air force helicopter circled Rome, passing over the Colosseum to give the Pontiff one last view of the city. Bells rang out from St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and churches all over Rome as he flew overhead. Before leaving, Benedict XVI said goodbye to the monsignors, nuns, Vatican staff and Swiss Guards who make up the papal household. He also said: ‘Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the center of your lives.’
Apostolic See of Rome is Vacant
Let us thank God for all the graces and blessing we have received through Pope Benedict, XVI and pray for the
New Holy Pope !
New Holy Pope !