Pope Benedict XVI Announces Resignation
February 11th, 2013
For the first time since 1415, when Pope Gregory XII announced he would step down to allow fresh elections to put an end to the Great Western Schism, Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation effective February 28:
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
There’s a great deal of speculation as to who the next pope would be. Some suggest that New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan might become the first American Pope. Given various geopolitical realities — and the fact that the American Catholic Church is something of a rather small runt in global Catholicism — I find such speculation unconvincing. Which means I could very easily be wrong.
Pope Benedict XVI has been an anti-gay crusader of long standing. In a 2007 message for World Peace Day, in which the Pope had a whole range of worldly ills which stand as a barrier to peace, he singled out gay marriage as “an objective obstacle on the road to peace.” This, while the Vatican opposed a UN resolution on decriminalization of homosexuality and the removal of the death penalty for those countries which impose it. While the Vatican is credited for exerting its influence against Uganda’s Anti-Homosxuality Bill in 2010, the Pope last December met with Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, the bill’s supporter, while she was in Italy for, ironically, a human rights conference.
In 2010, the pedophile scandal reached the Pope himself when it was revealed that as Archbishop in Bavaria, he had facilitated the repeated employment of at least one pedophile priest for pastoral assignments. It was also revealed that while head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the then-Cardinal Ratzinger made no moves to defrock an American priest who had molested some 200 boys at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin, and that he was directly involved in a cover-up of a sexual predator priest in California.