Monday, February 11, 2013


Benedict XVI: Soon to be ex-Pontiff. (
At a time when the Catholic Church is divided over various controversies such as corruption in the Vatican, sex abuse by priests, and their waning influence in the modern world, another shocker from the Vatican took us by surprise today—Pope Benedict XVI will resign on February 28 this year.

"The Pope announced that he will leave his ministry at 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) on February 28," said Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesperson who announced the news.

The Pope cited health reasons for stepping down. In an official message, he said, "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.” He added that he has recognized his "incapacity to adequately fulfill" the ministry entrusted to him.

Benedict XVI, now 85 years old, is one of the oldest Pontiffs to be elected. He was 78 when he ascended to the Papacy in 2005 following the death of Pope John Paul II.

Below is the full text of Benedict XVI's resignation letter:

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.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013


An Act of Humility

The Pope’s resignation is a sign of his humility and concern over his ability to fulfill his duties. With the Catholic Church facing a variety of challenges and scandals, the Pontiff must have realized that the Church needed a stronger and more able leader to guide them in dark times.

In part, his resignation is also an admission of the Church’s waning influence in these modern times; hence his stepping aside and his call for a successor who can be in touch with the modern society and help re-establish the Church’s integrity and influence.

A pope can resign?

The news of the Pope’s resignation came as a shocker as it is not common knowledge that Pontiffs can resign. The Vatican’s Code of Canon Law, however, allows a Pope to resign as per Rule 332.2 which states that:
"If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone."
What makes Pope Benedict’s resignation even more of a shocker is the fact that no pope has resigned since the Middle Ages. History has recorded at least four to six popes to have resigned, most notably Pope Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415 to end the Western Schism. His resignation ended the gridlock between three popes (including Gregory XII) vying for papal recognition. Other popes known to have resigned are Pontian in the year 235, Silverius in 537, and Celestine V in 1294. However, Benedict XVI will be the first to resign over health reasons.

Tagle: The Next Pontiff?
Conclave in 2013

The Vatican announced that a conclave will be convened in March to begin the selection for a new pope. Notable contenders for the position have been circulating from some time now, including Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarsicio Bertone, Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson (President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace), Archbishop of Milan Cardinal Angelo Scola, and even our very own Archbishop of Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.

Many progressive Catholics are looking forward to the election of a more liberal pope contrary to the traditionalist stance of Pope Benedict XVI. Meanwhile, conservative Catholics are calling for the election of a pope that will revive traditional Catholic teachings and restore the Church’s glory in these modern times. Whatever our expectations and the outcomes will be, we are all fortunate to be witnessing another conclave in our generation. TSS

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