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Pope says he's resigning for the 'good of church'

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Pope says he's resigning for the 'good of church'

Post  Admin on Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:27 pm

Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church" — an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement.
Looking tired but serene, the 85-year-old Benedict basked in a standing ovation when he entered the packed hall for his traditional Wednesday catechism lesson. His speech was interrupted repeatedly by applause, and many in the audience of thousands had tears in their eyes.

A huge banner reading "Grazie Santita" (Thank you Your Holiness) was strung up at the back of the room.

Benedict appeared wan and spoke very softly, but his eyes twinkled at the flock's warm and heartfelt welcome. He repeated in Italian what he had told his cardinals Monday in Latin: that he simply didn't have the strength to continue.

"As you know, I have decided to renounce the ministry that the Lord gave to me on April 19, 2005," he said, to applause. "I did this in full liberty for the good of the church."

He thanked the faithful for their prayers and love, which he said he had "physically felt in these days that haven't been easy for me." And he asked them to "to continue to pray for me, the church, and the future pope."

The atmosphere was festive and warm, if somewhat bittersweet, as if the crowd was trying to ask him to stay with them for just a bit longer. A chorus of Italian schoolchildren serenaded him with one of his favorite hymns in German — a gesture that won over the pope, who thanked them for singing a piece "particularly dear to me."

"He gave us eight wonderful years of his words," said Ileana Sviben, an Italian from the northern city of Trieste who couldn't hide her sadness. "He was a wonderful theologian and pastor."

"We were just coming for vacation, and now we are getting all of this!" marveled Terry Rodger, a tourist from New Orleans as he headed to the audience. "I am very excited. I'm surprised."

But the Rev. Reinaldo Braga Jr., a Brazilian priest studying theology in Rome, said he was saddened when he first heard the news.
"The atmosphere was funereal but nobody had died," he said. "But then I realized it was a wise act for the entire church. He taught the church and the world that the papacy is not about power but about service."

It was a sentiment the retiring Benedict himself emphasized Wednesday when he told his flock that the "path of power is not the road of God."

The audience included groups of nuns waving papal flags, and among the clerics, U.S. Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as archbishop of Boston at the height of the clerical sex abuse scandal in the United States.

Benedict is the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, and the decision has placed the Vatican in uncharted waters: No one knows what he'll be called or even what he'll wear after Feb. 28.

The Vatican, however, revealed some details of his final day as pope, saying he would attend a morning farewell ceremony with his cardinals and then fly off by helicopter at 5 p.m. to the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo.
Under that timetable, Benedict will be far from the Vatican when he ceases being pope at 8 p.m. — a deadline decided by Benedict himself because that's when his normal workday ends.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said no formal or symbolic act was needed to make his resignation official at that time, because Benedict has already done all that was required to resign by affirming he had taken the decision freely.
Benedict's final official acts as pope will include audiences with the Romanian and Guatemalan presidents this week and the Italian president on Feb. 23.

Making sure the transition goes smoothly, Benedict made an important appointment Wednesday, naming the No. 2 administrator of the Vatican city state, Monsignor Giuseppe Sciacca, as a legal adviser to the camerlengo.

The camerlengo, or chamberlain, helps administer the Vatican bureaucracy in the period between Benedict's resignation and the election of a new pope.


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Re: Pope says he's resigning for the 'good of church'

Post  Admin on Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:27 pm


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Tears and a standing ovation as Benedict celebrates last public Mass as pope

Post  Admin on Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:15 pm

A capacity crowd in St Peter's Basilica gave Pope Benedict a thunderous standing ovation on Wednesday night at an emotional last public Mass before he stands down at the end of the month.

"Thank you. Now, let's return to prayer," the 85-year-old pontiff said, bringing an end to several minutes of applause that clearly moved him.

In an unusual gesture, bishops took off their distinctive hats in a sign of respect and a few of them wept.

Earlier Wednesday, the pope explained that he had reached his decision to resign after prayer led him to conclude it would be for the best for the Catholic Church.

"I have done this in full freedom for the good of the church, after much prayer and having examined my conscience before God," Benedict said at his weekly general audience speech, according to an English transcript from the Holy See press office at the Vatican.

On Monday, when he revealed the news publicly, Benedict, 85, said that the papacy required "strength of mind and body," and that his health had deteriorated.

Later, the Vatican revealed that the pope had a pacemaker installed 10 years ago.
In Wednesday's remarks ahead of the Mass, the pontiff said he felt uplifted by the outpouring of support that followed his surprising resignation announcement.

"Thank all of you for the love and for the prayers with which you have accompanied me," he told the packed general audience hall. "In these days, which have not been easy for me, I have felt almost physically the power of prayer -- your prayers."

Benedict also said he had made his decision "knowing full well the seriousness of this act, but also realizing that I am no longer able to carry out the Petrine ministry with the strength which it demands."

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Reuters that on the pope's last day in office, Feb. 28, Benedict would receive cardinals in a farewell meeting. Afterward, his ring of office, used to seal official documents, will be destroyed, as is traditionally done when a pope dies.

'A very quiet' role

The pope is to live in a four-story building attached to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery inside the Vatican, something that the church's senior communications adviser, Greg Burke, told The Associated Press was significant.

"It is something that he has wanted to do for a while," Burke said. "But I think it also suggests that his role is going to be a very quiet one, and that is important so you don't have a situation of ... two different popes at the same time, and one influencing the other. I think the obvious thing is when he says retirement, it really means retiring."

As for the soon-to-be ex-pope's new name, Burke told the AP that Benedict would most likely be referred to as "Bishop of Rome, emeritus" as opposed to "Pope Emeritus."

Other Vatican officials said it would probably be up to the next pope to decide Benedict's new title, and wouldn't exclude that he might still be called "Your Holiness" as a courtesy, much as retired presidents are often referred to as "President," the AP reported.

It is unclear if he will keep the name Benedict, which he took on becoming pope, or return to being Joseph Ratzinger again.


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Re: Pope says he's resigning for the 'good of church'

Post  Admin on Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:19 pm

Immediately after his resignation, Benedict will spend some time at the papal summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo, overlooking Lake Albano in the hills south of Rome, where he has spent his summer vacations reading and writing, the AP said.

Afterward, he will return to the building in the Vatican's grounds, which was built in 1992 on the site of a former residence for the its gardeners, the AP reported. The building, which was occupied by an order of nuns until October, has a garden, where the nuns would tend to the lemon and orange trees as well as the roses.

The pope's older brother, Georg Ratzinger, confirmed that Benedict has no intention of returning to live in his native Bavaria. "You don't transplant an old tree," Ratzinger said.

Ratzinger said Tuesday that, in addition to his health issues, Benedict had been troubled by episodes such as the "Vatileaks" scandal in which a butler leaked secret documents. He also brought up "the relationship to the Pius Brotherhood" as a problem that troubled the pope.

Although the Pope's announcement that he would abdicate his position seemed sudden, Benedict reportedly made his decision in 2012 after a trip to Cuba and Mexico. NBC's Anne Thompson reports.

That organization, formally known as the Society of St. Pius X, fell into a harsh public spotlight in December when its leader, Bishop Bernard Fellay, said Jews were "the enemies of the church." His comment drew criticism from all corners of the church and from the public in general.

Ratzinger said he thought his brother had handled those problems well, but that they had taken their toll.
On Wednesday, the pope asked for continued support for him and the church.

"Continue to pray for me, for the church and for the future pope," he said. "The Lord will guide us."


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