Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement from the See of Rome today during a consistory during which three canonizations were also announced.
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.
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
Recognizing the seriousness of his ministry, Pope Benedict announced that on February 28th, at 8:00pm, the See of Saint Peter will be vacant. A Conclave to elect a new Supreme Pontiff will then be convoked.
Pope Benedict XVI concluded his statement by thanking the Cardinals for "all the love and work" with which they have supported him during his ministry, and "asking pardon for all my defects."
Pope Benedict concluded: "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 electinga 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 Conscious, Personal Decision
Addressing journalists at the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Lombardi stated that for several months the Holy Father has contemplated this decision for several months. When asked by one journalist if the Pope was saddened by his impending retirement, Fr. Lombardi stated that the Holy Father has experienced a "spiritual serenity in front of this retirement."
Fr. Lombardi also confirmed that there is particular ailment affecting Pope Benedict XVI. "There is no specific sickness or ailment that is affecting the Holy Father at this time," Fr. Lombardi said.
"He has recognized in the last few months with lucidity that his strength was weakening."
The decision to resign from the See of Rome"was a personal decision," Fr. Lombardi continued. "I don't believe that anyone has suggested this to him. This was a conscious decision that he made."
The new Supreme Pontiff is expected to be elected in time for Easter. As for Pope Benedict XVI, Fr. Lombardi stated that after he vacates the See of Rome, he will retire to a cloistered monastery within the Vatican.
[ EWTN News/ZENIT News ]