Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Pope Benedict to Resign

February 11th, 2013, Promulgated by Gen

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.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

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25 Responses to “Pope Benedict to Resign”

  1. DanielKane says:

    Blessed be God & His Church. Benedict XVI, a terrific herald of the Gospel, with a display of nearly unprecedented humility and love of his flock, steps aside so that a more capable man might take his place. It was a privilege to be a Catholic during his reign. He served with great love and concern for his people.

  2. Richard Thomas says:

    I remember his prayer to sustain him and give him the courage to face all the wolves who hate him. Indeed there are many wolves within Christ’s church

  3. annonymouse says:

    Amen to that, Daniel.

  4. Giovanni says:

    All God’s blessings to Pope Benedict XVI. I must say, although we haven’t always seen eye to eye, it takes a person of great character to make a selfless choice to step down and do what they believe is in the best interest of the Church! Thank you for your selfless love of the Church!

  5. y2kscotty says:

    May he have a splendid retirement. And may this decision to resign be a lesson for any future pope not to serve too long. He is a brilliant theologian and in his papacy he was able to witness to the love of God through His Son, Jesus. The “disciplinary” pronouncements may get a lot of press and attention, but it is his spiritual witness that remains as his legacy.

  6. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    With great joy, I received word of Cardinal Ratzinger’s election.

    With sadness and a sense of personal loss, I received word of his resignation.

    As DanielKane wrote above, Blessed Be God.

    We thank the Lord for having given us Pope Benedict XVI.

  7. Nerina says:

    You are all much more eloquent than I am right now. I just want to cry. I noticed in a BBC report this morning that the bullet points they highlighted on the side bar referred to his “Hitler Youth service” and the time he spent as “head of the Office of the Inquisitiion.” Sigh. Did this man not demonstrate his true humility and obedience to God? What more do they want?

    Of course I will pray for him and his successor. Praise and thanks be to God – his mercy endures forever. Thank you, God, for the gift of Pope Benedict.

  8. Dr. K says:

    And we are SCREWED in Rochester.

    Do I hear the uncorking of champagne at Buffalo Rd, Fr. Joe Hart? Get ready to move folks.

  9. Dr. K says:

    Start praying for Cardinal Burke…

  10. Ben Anderson says:

    Sixty-seven of the electors were created by Benedict XVI and the remaining 50 by John Paul II.

  11. Wayne says:

    Word has it that Bishop Clark graciously accepts Pope Benedict’s resignation.

  12. annonymouse says:

    Doctor, Doctor, Doctor. Have a little faith. Those you think may be uncorking champagne must surely realize that the chances that a “liberal” will be selected are essentially nil – for there are no liberal Cardinals any more. Every one of the electors, as Ben points out, were named by either Benedict or John Paul.

    Moreover, I believe that Benedict will name our next bishop before he vacates his See on the 28th.

    I certainly doubt that Cardinal Burke, or any other American, will be elected.

    And to Nerina – don’t cry, rejoice! Our Lord said “rejoice” when they hate you and ricidule you. For if this man were not scorned by “this world,” then we would have something to be sad about!

  13. annonymouse says:

    No liberals left, said Annonymouse. Then Annonymouse remembered that Cardinal Mahoney is not yet 80 years of age. So maybe there are a few hanging around.

    The Holy Spirit will select whom He wants.

  14. Nerina says:

    Then we get this hit piece, on FOX News no less, that completely mischaracterizes and misunderstands our Holy Father:

    Perhaps if the man actually looked at the results of Pope Benedict’s papacy he might conclude something other than “he never had a chance.” Instead he says he was no John Paul II (who is?), he wasn’t as smart, he wasn’t as charismatic and he didn’t accomplish anything.

    The writers asserts:

    In nearly eight years, Benedict issued three encyclicals – direct messages to the faithful that often reveal a pope’s enthusiasms and interests. Benedict’s first – entitled “God is Love” — is a caressing, simply worded, logic-based reassurance that our Lord loves us. Yet even his writing about love suffers in comparison with John Paul’s towering, intellectual yet intimate canon of work.

    I don’t know about everyone else, but as much as I admired, respected and loved JPII, I found his writing dense and tiring to read. It took enormous effort to penetrate his philosophical views. Benedict, on the other hand, was simply more accessible. Similarly, the Wednesday audiences of Benedict were routinely bigger than those for JPII. I don’t mention this to pit one pope against the other, but to point out that even in sympathetic media, the narrative against Papa Benedict endures.

  15. Diane Harris says:

    And may our sorrow be turned to joy, as it was for the Apostles:

    Jhn 16:20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.
    Jhn 16:21 When a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world.
    Jhn 16:22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

    The Holy Spirit is with His Church. We just can’t see the “big picture.” But consider that the abruptness of this resignation has left the enemy much less prepared than would a prolonged illness. His Holiness will be praying even more for Christ’s Church. May he live a long time to be a living presence of truth lived well. And may those he has appointed live faithful to this legacy.

  16. Dr. K says:

    “Word has it that Bishop Clark graciously accepts Pope Benedict’s resignation.”

    LOL. I’m sure he does!

  17. Dr. K says:

    I just had a thought. As bad as this news could be for Rochester, can you imagine what our friends in Albany must be feeling?

    It seems less likely that there will be quick acceptance of Bp. Hubbard’s resignation in October.

  18. JLo says:

    I am with you, Nerina… while I cherish our years with JPII, I found his writings just as you, too dense for an enjoyable read. On the other hand, Benedict XVI writes more clearly for me. I once heard a priest on EWTN opine that Bishop Sheen is so widely read because he conveyed his brilliant thinking in very short sentences. That’s my reasoning for finding our beloved current Holy Father so wonderful to read.

    I also think that even such as Scott Hahn and even JPII’s biographer, George Weigle, would disagree with that FOX writer… Benedict XVI has no match in modern times in theological and biblical brilliance.

    As to the writer who here said that even though he “didn’t always agree with him”…. do an examination of yourself, sir, and perhaps purge the vanity that expression reveals. To disagree with so learned, experienced, and holy a man, and the one leading our Church and to speak it now as you did rather smugly is just amazing lack of grace.

    Finally, once speculation starts and compares this to JPII staying in the Chair until the end, what entered my own heart this morning is that one believed he could delegate and his designs would be soundly carried out, perhaps the other has no such trust in those around him; and since he can no longer do such things himself, he sees that he must defer to a steward who can. In any case, we all know that only prayer for our Holy Father and his successor is to not waste precious time. +JMJ

  19. annonymouse says:

    Even in retirement, canon law is violated. For canon law makes clear that the Pope’s resignation CANNOT be accepted.

  20. annonymouse says:

    JLo – that is beautifully said.

    The comment “I didn’t always agree with him” implies that “there are occasions when he has been wrong because I am always right.”

    When the person with whom one is disagreeing so better qualified to advance an opinion, such a comment smacks of pride. And this is especially so when that person is the successor of Peter, Supreme Pontiff of the worldwide Church.

  21. Giovanni says:

    @JLo and @annonymouse…

    Not sure if you’re referring to my post… I assume you are because it’s the only one that comes close to saying what you’re quoting (emphasis on quoting). I never wrote the words I “didn’t always agree with him.”

    I wrote that while “we haven’t always seen eye to eye,” I appreciate the “selfless love” he demonstrated. Do not create a straw man… and please take my comment as it was intended – a compliment towards the Holy Father and a sign of appreciation to his service to the Church!

    When I say “we haven’t always seen eye to eye,” I’m referring mostly to how he dialogues with the Church as a whole. I find it more cold compared to that of his predecessor, JPII. You can read into that however you choose.

  22. Rich Leonardi says:


    Your qualifier was gratuitous and invited people to “read into it.” Today isn’t about you.

  23. JLo says:

    annonymouse, please provide where it is in Canon Law stated that a pope may not retire. I cannot imagine our Holy Father violating Church laws! There must be some mistake.

    And just to be clear, I WAS in my prior post referring to the writer who sad “…we haven’t always seen eye to eye”. Sorry I incorrectly remembered the phrase as “…didn’t always agree with him”. Fault my memory for sure; but your meaning was the same in any case, so my response would be the same.


  24. Giovanni says:

    @JLo fair enough…

    Also, regarding your question… I wondered the same thing. I found this (Sounds like he can resign, however it needs to be under complete freedom that he makes the decision -Link below as well):

    Can. 332 §1. The Roman Pontiff obtains full and supreme power in the Church by his acceptance of legitimate election together with episcopal consecration. Therefore, a person elected to the supreme pontificate who is marked with episcopal character obtains this power from the moment of acceptance. If the person elected lacks episcopal character, however, he is to be ordained a bishop immediately.

    §2. If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.

  25. annonymouse says:

    JLo – I was not referring to the Holy Father’s resignation, which is explicitly permitted in Church law, as Giovanni points out, in canon 332. You are correct – Benedict is the last man on earth whom I would expect to violate canon law. He can, at his discretion, legislate canon law – so why would he violate it!?

    What I was referring to was the local reaction to the Holy Father’s resignation, which was worded “graciously accepts” it. For canon 332, §2, says that no one may accept the resignation.

    To place oneself in a position to “accept” a resignation, one must be of greater authority than the one resigning.

    My comment was, no doubt, inartfully worded.

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