Bishop William Medley Statement on the resignation of His Holiness, Benedict XVI
Today, February 11, 2013 is in our Roman Catholic calendar the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, and for many years now has been observed as World Day of Prayer for the Sick. It is no simple coincidence that Pope Benedict XVI has chosen this day to announce that he will resign at the end of this month as Bishop of Rome, and thus the visible head of the universal Church.
The Holy Father notes in his statement announcing this historic resignation that his strength of mind and body has deteriorated. His act is one of humility and generosity, one of recognizing that he has served the Lord well and may with confidence trust that the Holy Spirit will guide the College of Cardinals in choosing his successor.
Pope Benedict inspires the world again by noting that he wishes to “devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.” Given that he has been one of the most renowned theological scholars of the past half century, we might expect that he would continue to write and publish as he is able.
As the tenure of a great man ends, we ask about his legacy. Pope Benedict’s legacy will be multi-faceted. He has been a man of faith passionate about the New Evangelization, the unity of Christians and ecumenism, the world’s care for the poor, and he has been an apostle of peace, always calling nations and peoples to seek nonviolent resolution to conflict.
In the interim that will come upon the pope’s resignation, the Roman Catholic Church will enjoy the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
May God bless Pope Benedict XVI and the Church as we move forward through this period of transition.