Upon hearing the news this morning about Pope Benedict XVI, after the shock has settled quickly, I take to heart and understand our Holy Father has taken everything into account and has made his decision in the best interest of the entire Catholic Church. My personal words to him:
Your Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,
I love you and thank you for leading us through one of the most trying times in history. It is as if we have come to the juncture where the road once again become steep and another is needed for this part of the travel. The famine of faith in the world is raging in the golden years of your life. I take the words of our Lord seriously and trust in Him and your decision. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” I keep you in my prayers and trust in the Holy Spirit to bring us another, not to fill your shoes, but rather to fill the shoes of our Lord and what He needs from us and what He is asking of us for now.
Most Holy Father I love you and thank you.
Full text of Pope’s declaration:
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
BENEDICTUS PP XVI