The resignation of a Pope has not happened for 600 years. So, this is certainly a momentous event. The Pope’s decision to resign due to his diminished strength and ability to fulfil all the various aspect of his very important and complex role provides an important message for all of us.
Pope Benedict’s announcement is a truly courageous one. It would not have been easy to forsake centuries of tradition to make such a decision. His concern for the wellbeing of his Church and his people underpinned his action. This concern for others has taken precedence over convention and status. Through this act he has made it clear that the wellbeing of the whole often has to come before considerations for one individual or for custom. The Pope’s action also speaks of the importance of self-awareness and of our individual and collective humanity. In taking this step the Pope seems to be saying that we must recognise our strengths and our limitations and be courageous enough to recognise and act on both. This is an important and valuable statement to us all.
Pope Benedict XVI often spoke of love as the essential message of the gospels. He made special mention of the charitable works of the Church and its commitment to social service. His words in this area were of particular comfort and inspiration to those of us who work at Centrecare. We wish Pope Benedict well in his retirement and thank him for his contribution to the life of the Catholic Church and the world.