Monday, February 11, 2013

For the Record: Pope Benedict XVI is First Pope to Resign Since Gregory XII

Penance: From the Paris Psalter
Edit: there will be a Conclave in March.  Interesting that Cardinal Muller, now the Prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine and the Faith, won't have a vote in the next Conclave.

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:
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. 

Video to the Martyrs of Otranto, whose Canonization was announced today by the Holy Father:

Other Popes who've resigned...

Cleveland..St. Malacy.

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.


  1. Not resign, but A-B-D-I-C-A-T-E!

    1. In all official Church documents and canon law it is 'resignation'. [See Canon 332.]

    2. The word issue is actually somewhat important, though not the be-all and end-all of the discussion. Since the Pope is a true monarch his action is properly called an abdication. "Resignation" is a legitimate term but it does take away from the monarchial importance of his office. In this case, Benedict did not just give a two weeks notice and resign.

      This is not stated to cast aspersions on the Holy Father; it's just intended to be a reminder that the office of the Pope is higher than a mere 'president.

  2. Here is the list of popes who resigned, according to the link you provided.:

    Popes who have resigned - often during times of political turmoil:

    Pontian (230-235). Allegedly resigned after being exiled to the mines of Sardinia.

    Marcellinus (296-304). Abdicated or was deposed after complying with Roman Emperor Diocletian's order to offer sacrifice to pagan gods.

    Martin I (649-655). Exiled by Emperor Constans II to Crimea.

    Benedict V (964). Elected after the assassination of the prior pope, he was pushed out a month later, by the emperor, who favored a different candidate.

    Benedict IX (1032-45). Resigned after selling the papacy to his godfather Gregory VI.

    Gregory VI (1045-46). Deposed by Henry III for simony (selling church pardons and offices).

    Celestine V (1294). A hermit, elected at age 80 and overwhelmed by the office, resigned. He was imprisoned by his successor.

    Gregory XII (1406-15). Resigned to help end the Great Western Schism when there were multiple rival popes.

    I can't believe that our pope is going to numbered amongst the above. Very sad.

  3. As that fellow says,"Popin' Ain't Easy". For several years I along with others have been concerned,and let us all recall that Pope Benedict was not stepping on toes for the Job;the reluctant Pope. I am shaken. The fact is we never know these days what is round the corner for the Church.Pray for the Church,Pope Benedict and for the Cardinals in their contemplation for our to be Pope. For give me but the list I've seen of "candidates" ? Who thinks (some of the names) so?