The Church in God's hands

Zdjęcie: Marek Borawski/ Nasz Dziennik

Come Holy Spirit

Wtorek, 12 lutego 2013 (15:39)

Aktualizacja: Poniedziałek, 8 lipca 2013 (11:20)

Benedict XVI yesterday announced, that his pontificate would end on February 28th. Thereafter a Conclave will be called to choose Saint Peter’s new successor. In under eight years the pontificate of an eminent Pope remains a great gift for the Church.

The Holy Father’s decision took everybody by surprise. Pilgrims began to gather on Saint Peter’s Square in the early afternoon, much moved, as the news spread that Pope Benedict XVI had abdicated. Benedict XVI first informed participants of yesterday’s Consistory at the Vatican, on three future canonisations. “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 (sede vacante) and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is„ – said the Holy Father before the College of Cardinals.

– Something very important must have happened, for the Pope to undertake such a decision. – notes Cardinal Nagy fromCracow. – A Pope abdicating is an extremely rare occurrence in Church history – he adds. The Pope’s resignation has undoubtedly, above all else, an Apostolic dimension that should encourage the whole Church to draw conclusions. The Holy Father spoke about this aspect directly yesterday, when he pointed to how the world is subject to rapid change, and continually confronted with matters of great importance to a life of faith. Benedict XVI acknowledged the need for the Holy Spirit to steer the Church, and designate the next Pope, one endowed with a heavenly might, through the College of Cardinals. From such a perspective the Pope’s decision shows him up as a man of great humility, responsibility as well as endowed with a great love of the Church.

– This Pope has shown himself to be a remarkable and unique human being – emphasizes Archbishop Józef Michalik, head ofPoland’s Episcopal Conference. The Archbishop also points out that the very fact of the Holy Father’s decision shows how trying and difficult the Papal ministry must be. Benedict XVI pontificate is undoubtedly filled with extremely thorny attacks on the Pope, on the one hand, whilst on the other – a consistently realised educational mission that the Church carries out as it preaches to a world that at the level of statute and customs not only rejects God’s law, but also natural laws. In his teaching Benedict XVI always declares a resolute “no” to modern faithlessness, neo-paganism, a moral crisis, both social and economic that provoked the present world crisis. Defends every human person’s life and dignity.

– Our prayers for the Pope and the Church should be as great as our concern for the life of the Church itself, following the Holy Father’s decision to resign – underlines Father Professor Waldemar Chrostowski. The Holy Father’s words, as well as the chosen time and accompanying events are indicative of such motives. Benedict XVI pointed to his advanced age (he will be 86 in April), as the reason why his “strengths are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry„. It is also significant that yesterday the Church celebrated the World Day of the Sick and that the key events took place in Benedict XVI nativeBavaria, in the Marian Sanctuary town ofAltötting. It is precisely his impaired state of health that Father Georg Ratzinger points out as the reason for his younger brother’s resignation.

We all remember the words that Benedict XVI delivered from the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica immediately after his election to Saint Peter’s See. – After the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have chosen me – a simple, humble labourer in the Lord’s Vineyard – he declared at the time. It says a lot about the Holy Father, who though immensely hardworking, with a uniquely vibrant theological mind and a rich Apostolic teaching initiative, never ceased to be a humble human being. He has once again confirmed that truth by the decision he has taken. – Benedict XVI led Christ’s Church after the parting of John Paul II, with great prudence and wisdom, that flowed from his unique intellectual talents, as well as a very deep faith. I thank the Holy Father for all his efforts aimed at renewing the Church in a spirit of loyalty to the Master fromNazareth– underlined Cardinal Dziwisz, Metropolitan of Cracow.Vaticanspokesman Father Federico Lombardi announced yesterday that after his resignation Benedict XVI will spend some time atCastel Gandolfo, and then retire to a former cloistered monastery within theVatican. He will also not take part in the Conclave that will elect his successor, most probably by the end of March.


Sławomir Jagodziński