|Penance: From the Paris Psalter|
Considering that the Holy Father is taking his singular and shocking step by announcing his resignation just before Lent and on the same day he's announced the Canonization of the Martyrs of Otranto, this resignation really has really been conceived to induce penance and deep meditation.
Here's a statement from the Holy Father:
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.
Video to the Martyrs of Otranto, whose Canonization was announced today by the Holy Father:
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
Other Popes who've resigned...
Conclave in March...
Cardinal Keith O'Brien shocked by the news...
Resigning for health reasons...
Remnant frets about wolves, and mentions Vatileaks, but suggests end run by Pope Benedict....
Edit cont: This puts Benedict in a position to influence the choice of a successor, while he works behind the scenes to effect his policies. Whether this is true remains to be seen.
Many of this Pope's initiatives, like Reform of the Reform when some high-profile resignations and the reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X, took a serious hit after Vatileaks as well. This may be an effort to sidestep the issues raised by that, or it may indeed be a final nail in the coffin of those initiatives.
Hopefully, it will be remember that it is God who is in charge of His Church as he continues to chose men who serve Him as shepherds of His flock on earth.
Also, as Scott Hahn pointed out this morning, and we noted long ago. This Pope has a devotion to St. Pope Celestine V.
Expect the next Pope to be Conservative.