By now the whole world is aware of the shocking news. Our beloved Pope Benedict XVI will be retiring as our Pope, for reasons only he and God know. The following is his letter to the college of cardinals:
Full text of Pope's February 11th Declaration to the College of Cardinals
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
There are a few things to remember as these days grow closer to Pope Benedict's retirement:
1. God is always in charge. He is not leave us orphans.
2. Pope Benedict did not make this decision lightly. There was a lot of prayer on his part, hence the Holy Spirit is and was with Him through it all.
3. It was a profound act of humility on our Holy Father's part to do this.
4. It will do no good to make speculations as to the "real reasons" behind Pope Benedict's resignation. It is our responsibility to continue to pray for him and for his successor.
5. The evil one will take this opportunity to perpetuate lies about our holy father, it is our responsibility to speak out with the truth whenever it is necessary.
6. The gates of hell will not prevail.
Mahalo nui loa Holy Father for your love of church, for your leadership as our shepherd and for your example of deep humility.