March 30, 2017

February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Announces His Resignation At End of Month

Deeply saddened to see this.  He was a great pope—respected by those who love the Gospel and hated and feared by revisionist activists.

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.

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When I saw the title of this post, I went “Ha, ha!  Good one!  You had me going there for a moment!”

But it’s true.

This is a very, very big thing - last pope who resigned was Celestine V in the 13th century, and Dante - at least, according to the commentators on the poem -  puts him in the Vestibule of Hell with the neutrals (those who, like the Laodiceans, were neither hot nor cold):

52 And I, all eyes, saw a whirling banner
53 that ran so fast it seemed as though
54 it never could find rest.
55 Behind it came so long a file of people
56 that I could not believe
57 death had undone so many.
58 After I recognized a few of these,
59 I saw and knew the shade of him
60 who, through cowardice, made the great refusal.
61 At once with certainty I understood
62 this was that worthless crew
63 hateful alike to God and to His foes.
64 These wretches, who never were alive,
65 were naked and beset
66 by stinging flies and wasps
67 that made their faces stream with blood,
68 which, mingled with their tears,
69 was gathered at their feet by loathsome worms.

It’s going to be very strange going into a conclave with a living (ex-)pope, and I have no idea who is likely to be elected.  And as for how the new pope will cope, with a predecessor still around to look over his shoulder, as it were - nobody knows how that will turn out.  Still, God is good!

Damian Thompson speaks of shock and dismay, and that’s exactly how I feel.  I feel orphaned, which is crazy, because he’s not dead.  But I definitely feel a sense of loss.

[1] Posted by Martha on 2-11-2013 at 07:45 AM · [top]


I am not Roman, only because I cannot be, but I feel orphaned also.  Benedict was good for the Mother Church and for the world. 

I am reminded a bit, of “The Vicar of Christ”, written some twenty years ago, a good read, and almost prophetic in terms of the pressures which today affect the Bark of Peter.

My humble and heartfelt prayers will be with him for his future, and the future of the Papacy.

Kyrie, eleison, il papa.

[2] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 2-11-2013 at 07:59 AM · [top]

Intense prayer for the Catholic Church is called for.  In these perilous times for Christianity, if Benedict can no longer vigorously discharge the duty to which he is called, then he is making a responsible decision.  But speculation and political intrigue are going to be intense, also.  Good Lord, Cardinal Mahony is still entitled to vote.

[3] Posted by Katherine on 2-11-2013 at 08:07 AM · [top]

I am saddened as well.  At a loss for words beyond that.

[4] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 2-11-2013 at 08:19 AM · [top]

Hopefully this will not provide an opening for innovation. I think he set up things by how many have been elevated to cardinals recently.

[5] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-11-2013 at 08:25 AM · [top]

His book, “The Spirit of the Liturgy” was such a good book to meditate on; a reminder of the depth of his contributions to the faith.  Pray for the church.

[6] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 2-11-2013 at 08:55 AM · [top]

Cpt. Fr. Warren, I agree.  “The Spirit of the Liturgy” should be mandatory reading for all clergy. 

I was floored by this announcement.  Pope Benedict has been a Godsend to the church, laboring mightily to get the RCC back on course.  A truly great Pope and man of God.

[7] Posted by evan miller on 2-11-2013 at 09:46 AM · [top]

The recent popes have been impressive by the perseverence and courage of their service under infirmity and distress and now by the commitment to the church and faith which they see necessarily better served by one with greater physical strength and energy.  He recently went on Twitter (which still escapes me). I hope he was not done in by the social media. A new ABC and a new Pope!

[8] Posted by Don+ on 2-11-2013 at 10:18 AM · [top]

Like everyone else. I am shocked to hear the announcement of the Pope’s resignation. This Pope has shown great courage and leadership of the Catholic Church in many ways. Without a doubt he is one of the great theological intellects of the 20th century , particularly in combating cultural relativism. Of course for Anglicans, he has had a profound impact by welcoming and celebrating within the Latin Church, the spiritual liturgical and pastoral patrimony of Anglicanism through the creation of the Ordinariates in England,  North America, and Australia.

By resigning he positively impacts the perception of the Catholic Church in our day. He has shown great humility and servant leadership by reminding the Catholic Church and all Christians that it is the office should be more important than any man’s ego in holding the office past his ability to function effectively and to guard the faith. The Bishop of Rome has become in increasingly relevant in the modern world and his resignation, I think,  underscores that relevancy as well as fosters it further.

May God bless him and grant him a much deserved rest in retirement.

[9] Posted by frmcn+ on 2-11-2013 at 11:39 AM · [top]

It brought tears to my eyes when I heard it on the radio this morning. God be with Pope Benedict. God be with the College of Cardinals as they meet for election. Give them both strength and wisdom.

[10] Posted by via orthodoxy on 2-11-2013 at 12:16 PM · [top]

[5]Fr. Dale, I think you’re quite right about Benedict setting things up. I don’t think he would have done this if he had not been as certain as possible that it would be safe to do it. I think that from the beginning of his pontificate he’s been planning for his successor, particularly by his appointment of good, orthodox bishops and cardinals.
Still, this is a critical juncture for the church and for the world. Hopefully the College of Cardinals, guided by the Holy Spirit, will elect the right man.

[11] Posted by Nellie on 2-11-2013 at 02:29 PM · [top]

Can’t help but feeling jealous of out Catholic brethren.  In the past 30+ years, they’ve have JPII and B16, two remarkable theologians and scholars as well as men of deep faith.

Us PCUSAers get a parade of buffoons through the office of moderator and the Piskies get KJS, none of which would recognize solid theology if it bit them on the butt.

Blessings on B16 as he humbly fades away.

[12] Posted by MTDave on 2-11-2013 at 02:32 PM · [top]

Many years to His Holiness and his successor!  The German Shepherd was a friend of orthodox Christianity regardless of the denomination.  However, recalling the final years of JPII, I can’t help but feel it is premature.  I also fear that his successors will struggle against the secular media and other forces who will call for a resignation anytime a future pope sneezes…and you can be certain that it will happen.

[13] Posted by Nikolaus on 2-11-2013 at 07:30 PM · [top]

I respect someone who knows when it is time to retire. Good for him.

[14] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 2-11-2013 at 09:09 PM · [top]

BXVI’s theology was very encouraging from a protestant perspective.  Like von Balthasar, he was someone we could work with theologically. 

Much will depend on his successor though.  I expect he has someone in mind, and hopefully his influence will make the difference. 

Our Cardinal in Australia (Pell) is senior, with similar views to BXVI on many things, and he has been in Rome surprisingly often lately.  He will never be Pope himself but is likely to be influential in the conclave - I wonder if Benedict has been calling in Pell and other Cardinal allies for discussions, in order to prepare for this?

[15] Posted by MichaelA on 2-11-2013 at 11:23 PM · [top]

I was very sad to read the news but respect the Pope for knowing he can no longer carry out his duties as he should.  I pray he has a peaceful retirement.

[16] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 2-11-2013 at 11:39 PM · [top]

l also feel orphaned, and am grieving. 
I do feel that Pope Benedict would not have done this without having good reason to hope that a good successor will be chosen. 
I wonder also if he isn’t by this act trying to give us a new understanding of the Petrine ministry; to discourage the cult of personality we Catholics, including myself, tend to build around our Popes, perhaps to move us a tiny bit towards an idea of the Petrine ministry which might be acceptable to the Orthodox.
But these attempts at positive thoughts aren’t entirely stilling my anxiety or reliving my sadness.
Susan Peterson

[17] Posted by eulogos on 2-12-2013 at 10:39 PM · [top]

Oh, and Sarah, thank you for your positive words.  The resignation has occasioned many painful negative comments on Facebook and elsewhere, which continue to hurt every time I read one. 

[18] Posted by eulogos on 2-12-2013 at 10:40 PM · [top]

Joseph Radzinger, alias Benedict XVI, formerly known as “The Rottweiler” from his role as attack dog for his predecessor Carol Wojtyla alias John Paul II under whose auspices he issued the Criminale Solicitacciones instruction of Pope John XXIII has resigned. The uncovered instruction ordering the protection of pedophile sex criminal priests and nuns at the expense of not protecting the little children they were molesting and threatening the little victims with hell if they did not keep their being raped secret did not result in a RICO prosecution in the USA despite 177 out 179 American dioceses and their bishops and arch bishops being found liable for massive damages in court. The Bush Administration squashed civil litigations against Radzinger on political grounds that as a head of state the pope is immune from any judicial or prosecutorial proceedings by International convention. Similar efforts in the UK to have citizen’s arrests of Radzinger during his papal visit of 2010 were stopped by the British government, thus this gangster who orchestrated an international campaign to shield dangerous child molesters was never brought to justice for obstruction or aiding and abetting fugitives from justice. The systematic rape and sodomizing of small children by Roman Catholic clergy under the protection of the church hierarchy stemmed from Australia and New Zealand to the USA and Canada, to Great Britain, to Germany and beyond, but was found most prolific in Roman Catholic countries such as Ireland, Austria, French speaking Africa, and Brazil.

In his youth Radzinger wore a swastika and fought for Hitler, but went on as a priest and cardinal paying lip service against anti semitic Jew hatred, yet under his papacy the Vatican has maintained an almost continual anti Israel bias.  Radzinger then went on to become the king of scandal when the endemic pedophilia of Roman Catholicism finally could no longer be hidden and suppressed despite his best efforts to do so. Even the mafia does not allow its members to engage in child prostitution, child pornography or pedophilia. It rather takes Radzinger’s Roman Catholic Church to go that low. The largest cache of kiddie porn on record, some 40,000 hours , was at the Roman Catholic seminary near Vienna. We are reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in The New Testament calling mandatory celibacy a ‘doctrine of demons’  (1 Timothy 4: 1-3), a demonic practice rigidly advocated by the pedophile protecting Radzinger cum Benedict XVI.

Without reference to the true legacy of this evil man who with fewer scruples than a gangster acted to protect the most heinous of criminals to the detriment of the most helpless of victims - small children, many as young as four, the global media will pay homage to this wicked son of the devil and the usual chorus line of religious hypocrites and corrupt politicians will do likewise even addressing him as “holy father”. Calling a human “Holy Father” as a religious title is something expressly outlawed by Jesus who taught, “One is our Holy Father who is in heaven”.  Claims of ex cathedra infallibility, being the heir of Peter, and the Vicar of Christ all stand in stark contradiction to the Christianity taught by Jesus ad the apostles. Peter merely identified himself as a fellow elder and claimed no primacy (1 Peter 5:1) and it was James, not Peter who presided at the first church council in Jerusalem (Acts chapter 15).  Indeed, in St. Peter’s day it was the pagan emperor of imperial Rome whose title was Pontiff. Translating the papal claim to be vicar of Christ from its official Latin: vicarius Cristos into New Testament Greek we have the papal title being “anti kristo” or anti christ. It is thus easy to see why for centuries the Roman papacy placed the Word of God on the index of banned books and persecuted, tortured, and murdered those who urged people to read it such as John Wycliife, Savaranola, Jan Hus, and William Tyndale.

In USA, throughout Latin America, and as far a-field as The Philippines many former Roman Catholics have renounced these doctrines of demons and embraced scriptural Christianity realizing that they cannot both follow the teachings of Jesus and the contradictory teachings of Rome with its bogus salvation by sacramental ritual, its superstition and idolatry, its anti christ papacy with its hypocrisy and corruption, and its pedophilia. Unable to believe that a godless institution whose clergy on a global scale has raped defenseless children and whose bishops, cardinals, and popes have covered it up , millions have left Roman Catholicism and converted to Christianity choosing Christ over a child molester protecting anti christ like Radzinger who will like all of us one day stand before the real Holy Father.

The speculations about the spurious prophetic predictions allegedly ascribed by tradition to Malachy or Columkille about the last pope being called Peter etc. are not an issue of any major concern nor are speculations if the next pope will be a Latin American or an African .

An anti christ is an anti christ no matter what he calls himself or where he comes from.  However, the manner in which the media and masses are deluded by these shameless guardians of the perpetrators of pedophilia are shadows of how the ultimate Anti Christ and False Prophet will deceive most of the world.

We urge our Roman Catholic friends to stop running away from the undeniable fact and read the Word of God for themselves. Truth will prevail.

James Jacob Prasch

[19] Posted by RickP on 2-15-2013 at 11:13 AM · [top]

I’m thinking that the above post should be deleted by the editors. Apart from being absurd and ignorant, it’s tedious.

[20] Posted by A Senior Priest on 2-15-2013 at 11:48 AM · [top]

Not to overstep my bounds, but I think RickPshould be banned immediately and his vile comment at #19 removed. 

God bless and keep Pope Benedict.

[21] Posted by evan miller on 2-15-2013 at 11:58 AM · [top]

Agreed #20 and #21.

[22] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 2-15-2013 at 12:03 PM · [top]

Of course it should be banned, it is impossible to refute it, because no one can refute it. Did Radzinger do all this: yes. The revisionists are accused of saying one thing and doing something else. What is the difference here? Nothing, just young defenceless youth. Galatians 1 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
There is one true Gospel which Radzinger does not preach.

[23] Posted by RickP on 2-15-2013 at 12:11 PM · [top]

In 2001, Pope John Paul II placed this department in charge of the investigation of child rape and torture by Catholic priests. In May of that year, Ratzinger issued a confidential letter to every bishop. In it, he reminded them of the extreme gravity of a certain crime. But that crime was the reporting of the rape and torture. The accusations, intoned Ratzinger, were only treatable within the church’s own exclusive jurisdiction. Any sharing of the evidence with legal authorities or the press was utterly forbidden. Charges were to be investigated “in the most secretive way ... restrained by a perpetual silence ... and everyone ... is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office ... under the penalty of excommunication.” (My italics). Nobody has yet been excommunicated for the rape and torture of children, but exposing the offence could get you into serious trouble.

[24] Posted by RickP on 2-15-2013 at 12:30 PM · [top]

Here is an instructive video for Shori and the other leaders of the TEC in dealing with the Orthodox - how to construct your own gallows:

[25] Posted by B. Hunter on 2-15-2013 at 01:01 PM · [top]

Whoops - wrong blog - not sure how that happened…sorry all.

[26] Posted by B. Hunter on 2-15-2013 at 01:01 PM · [top]

I’m afraid our friend RickP has been channelling the late Christipher Hitchens.

I don’t know if I concur in banning him.  He probably sincerely believes what he has posted.  And it’s a good example of the kind of thing we Catholics get all the time, from all over the map.

Rather than doing all the work, the following is lifted from a website called “Catholic Education Resource Center.”  I can’t personally vouch for it, but most of it appears consistent with what I’ve found when I get around to looking into diatribes like this.

“Mr. Hitchens states that in May, 2001, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger sent a “confidential” letter to Catholic bishops to remind them that anyone who disclosed “child rape and torture” by priests would be excommunicated. He claims that Cardinal Ratzinger imposed a ten year “statute of limitations” on actions against such priests, and was thus guilty of “obstruction of justice.”

“These assertions are false.

“The 2001 instruction was issued to clarify how reports of clerical sexual misconduct were to be handled. Ratzinger’s directive actually facilitated Church proceedings against clerical sex offenders by extending time limits that had previously hampered prosecutions. Limitations of action are not unique to Canon Law. They exist in secular legal jurisdictions, and can prevent prosecution of serious sex crimes.

“The so-called “confidential” instruction was published and appeared in English in 2001. It has been ‘discovered,’ ‘revealed’ or ‘exposed’ by so many reporters since then that it might give pause to those who doubt the possibility of the resurrection of the dead. Certainly, Mr. Hitchens’ wild fabrication that Cardinal Ratzinger threatened to excommunicate anyone who revealed “child rape and torture” has trumped the rhetoric of his predecessors. However, lurid prose is hardly a substitute for sound research.

“Bishops were not “reminded” by Cardinal Ratzinger of secrecy or excommunication. The passage quoted by Mr. Hitchens as ‘proof’ of his extravagant claim is not (as his readers might believe) from Ratzinger’s instruction. It is from Crimen Sollicitationis, a 1962 instruction8 that Ratzinger merely noted had been under review.

“Virtually all of Crimen Sollicitationis concerned the investigation and prosecution of complaints of sexual solicitation of penitents by priests in confession. Such procedures are difficult and sensitive because the seal of confession cannot be violated; a priest cannot break the seal even to defend himself against an accusation. The same policies and procedures were to be adapted and applied to the “worst crimes,” including sexual aggression against minors.

“Crimen Sollicitationis did not threaten excommunication of people who revealed “child rape and torture” by priests. On the contrary: it imposed not only a duty to denounce such crimes (and the lesser offence of solicitation) to the bishop, but the automatic excommunication of anyone who knowingly failed to do so.

“Officials investigating or involved in proceedings pertaining to these “unspeakable crimes” were required to take an oath of perpetual secrecy, on pain of excommunication. This was the passage perverted by Mr. Hitchens’ selective quotation and extraordinary accusation. An oath of secrecy was also to be given to witnesses in the proceedings, but was not, it seems, to be backed by a threat of excommunication. Analogous oaths of secrecy and confidentiality are taken by secular professionals and officials. Confidentiality is usually maintained during secular investigations, and secular proceedings – Family Court hearings for example – sometimes proceed in secret.

“Media reports over the last several years have mentioned some of the reasons the Church had for secrecy: protecting the seal of confession, ensuring the integrity of an investigation, shielding victims from publicity and encouraging them to come forward, and protecting reputations before guilt has been established.”

I appreciate that this is a largely Protestant website, and appreciate your allowing this sort of thing to be answered.

[27] Posted by rick allen on 2-15-2013 at 01:30 PM · [top]

My problem with Rick P’s comment—besides the misspelling of Ratzinger’s name, and the boilerplate, is that he’s not provided anything but the vaguest of assertions nor any primary sources.

For example, in comment #24, Rick P would need to provide source for the complete letter from Ratzinger. 

To move on through various assertions:

—nobody cares that he was called “The Rottweiler”—I think it a lovely honorific nickname and would love to have such a name myself

—the fact that something “did not result in a RICO prosecution” is irrelevant

—I’m pleased that civil litigation was not allowed against the Pope—a ridiculous and silly effort

—I’m equally pleased that the efforts of liberals—who, incidentally, have a favorite tactic of attempting to arrest *all sorts of visitors to the UK* with whose beliefs they do not agree—were quashed

—words like “gangster” and “alias” are laughable purple prose that bring smiles to lips and take away credibility from any *actual* relevant and truthful assertions

—I don’t even grant the assertion that the “rape and sodomizing of small children by Roman Catholic clergy” was “systematic.”  It was, rather, the result of a massive infiltration by gay men who became priests because the Roman Catholic hierarchy was under the impression—mistakenly at the time—that it was okay for gays who had so self-identified to be clergy, under the theory that they were promising before God to be celibate and would be so.  Unlike his predecessor, Benedict scotched that notion pretty well; I especially approve of what he did with the seminaries and standards for clergy entrance.  The coverup of the gross evil perpetrated by a very small percentage of clergy was equally wicked.  I haven’t seen any evidence that Benedict deliberately attempted to coverup these crimes, unless you call continuing to enforce the seal of the confessional a “coverup”.  Rather, I’ve seen some circumstantial evidence that he attempted to get these people fired and/or demoted asap even while he served under JPII.

—I’m indifferent as to Ratzinger wearing a swastika and being forced into the German Youth

—I have seen no indication of “anti-Israel bias” in this papacy

—While certainly some very few will attempt to paint him as “the king of scandal” most of us recognize he isn’t, and that he did yeoman’s work to clean house and take names when he became pope

—I am thoroughly unsurprised that “the largest cache of kiddie porn on record, some 40,000 hours , was at the Roman Catholic seminary near Vienna” although I would need to have sourcing as to the truth of that assertion—nevertheless I don’t know what that has to do with Ratzinger

—I am opposed to priestly celibacy, although it seems a bit unfair to blame Benedict for a practice that has been fairly long-standing

—It’s a bit of a hoot to say that “the global media will pay homage to this wicked son of the devil” [besides being, again, amusingly purple-prosed, rather like environmentalists proclaiming that we are “raping Mother Earth” when we put up a nuclear power station], when the global media utterly detests Pope Benedict with every fiber of their gollum-like beings

—ditto to “corrupt politicians” who also despise Benedict and everything he stands for

—Some Protestants would agree about not calling a human “Holy Father”—is Rick P equally opposed to calling Anglican clergy “Father”?  If so, it’s not contained in Rome only, but in other denominations as well—but that’s, again, just standard boilerplate Protestantism.

—I completely agree that “claims of ex cathedra infallibility, being the heir of Peter, and the Vicar of Christ all stand in stark contradiction to the Christianity taught by Jesus ad the apostles”—not to mention that it is sadly delusory and it’s always unhealthy to think you or your organization is something that it is not

—the “vicarius Cristos” [sic] stuff is just Jack Chick silliness

—yes, the RCs shouldn’t have been mean to the Protestants; of course, the Protestants shouldn’t have been mean to the RCs when *they* had the power either

In summary, if one is going to issue assertions, one needs to offer sources, and so far, only one source is actually relevant anyway.  The rest is just a jumbled mess of assertions that are largely irrelevant, or theological, which is an entirely different matter.

There have been plenty of threads at StandFirm to debate RC versus Protestant theology—those have been entered into enthusiastically, but as Pope Benedict is generally accepted to be a Roman Catholic, it is fruitless to breathlessly point out all the RC doctrines that he believes.

And finally, the percentage of clergy involved in the rape and sodomy of post-pubescent boys [the vast majority of victims in the RC entity] is actually supposedly less than the amount of such molestation taking place in public schools in America. It’s just that the press has not decided to pay attention to those stories . . . for rather obvious reasons.

I don’t think Rick P’s comments are worth deleting—they are too easily overturned and demonstrated to be vacuous for that.

If Rick P wishes to participate in this thread he can:

—not copy and paste swathes of assertions on this blog from other blogs
—cease using name-calling like “gangster” which just serve to cover up his assertions under purple prose and make people laugh
—delete the theological disagreements, since we have whole threads to discuss these matters on that are on-topic, and many Protestants already agree with him on these matters, so they’re tedious and dull to discuss
—actually source with primary documents anything that is relevant that he has asserted, which when it comes right down to it, amidst the mass of hyperbole and overblown filler, is merely a letter, since nobody needs sourcing for the “shocking” claim that Ratzinger had to wear a swastika as so many others did

[28] Posted by Sarah on 2-15-2013 at 02:27 PM · [top]

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