Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that he will be stepping down from the papacy at the end of the month shook up the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics today. It has been 600 years since the last time this has happened which, even for the Catholic church, is long enough for it to take us by surprise.
This could be the time for speculation, conjecture, and worry. Or a time for prayer, following the Holy Father’s lead:
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.
A few articles on the event:
The unexpected announcement that rang out in the Concistory Hall: “…Everyone’s eyes met, a light murmur swelled in the hall and astonishment faded into sorrow. Yet, after the first few moments of confusion, the unanimous recognition that the Pope’s act was a very lofty act of humility made headway among those present…”
Pope Benedict XVI resigns. This is unbelievable news, but evidence of his deep humility: ”…Yes, the controversies surrounding child abuse have darkened his reign; my own feeling is that he has had to shoulder the burden of scandals that should have broken many years before he became pope, and also that his personal culpability as the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog during that period should not be exaggerated…”
Ten Reasons to give thanks for Pope Benedict XVI: “…As we struggle to absorb the news, here are 10 reasons to give thanks for his papacy…”
Non Habemus Papam: “…Perhaps his decision can be best understood if we look at the theme of his pontificate, which is the compatibility of faith and reason. Not long ago I was struck by what Vatican Art Historian, Elizabeth Lev, said in the room in the Vatican Museum, that was once the private study of Pope Julius II, the Stanza della Segnatura, with the Raphael frescos of The School of Athens and The Disputation on the Holy Sacrament. She said these paintings used to be called Theology and Philosophy, but now, in the reign of Pope Benedict XVII, they can be called Faith and Reason…”