I couldn't agree more with William Oddie who wrote We have all now grown used to the idea of the Pope’s abdication: the reality will be harder to take in. It remains a great sorrow to have to live through
But his departure is still a terrible blow. As I wrote after the announcement, “Catholics love their pope; and for the pope simply to disappear, for this beloved person to say, in effect, that after the end of this month we will never see him or hear from him again is like a kind of bereavement without a death and the final closure that a good death brings.”
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the Queen sent a very powerful message, read out by the British Ambassador at a memorial service in St Thomas’s Church, Fifth Avenue: it included an unforgettable sentence: “grief is the price we pay for love”. Don’t misunderstand me: this isn’t of course a tragedy on anything like the same level of desperate horror. But the premature end of this particular pontificate, all the same, still feels to me to be not without its tragic dimension
This has been a very great pope; and part of his greatness has been his unique combination of great intellect with a very real and visible fatherly tenderness for all his people. Intellect and love, reason and faith; his has been a genius unique in its power to bring together means of perception and understanding which are often thought to operate in quite distinct ways, even to be incompatible. In many of his addresses, writes Professor Tracey Rowland, in a brilliant assessment of his pontificate, “Benedict … emphasized that love and reason are the twin pillars of all reality. The relationships between love-and-reason and faith-and-reason were themes to which he often returned. One sensed that he was trying to reconcile the Thomist and Franciscan traditions in a higher synthesis: rather than a system which gives a typically Thomist priority to truth, or one which gives a typically Bonaventurian priority to love, he insisted that love and reason are equally foundationally significant – hence the image of ‘twin pillars’.”
He won't be the Holy Father anymore, Oddie writes, but the Holy Grandfather
The Anchoress calls the Pope's resignation, the supernatural gambit
Benedict, having faced it, realized that the Church’s disorientation—and thus the world’s—would not be righted by yet another professorial speech, or another pilgrimage. A ship in profound danger requires a profound action, and Benedict has taken it. He is throwing all of us into the arms of the Lord in the belief that, as he said after his announcement, “the Church belongs to Christ, whose care and guidance will never be lacking.”
You might call it a supernatural gambit as in one move Benedict is both teaching by example and subverting the world in a way perhaps only the evil one understands; the prayers and penances of a Vicar of Christ, unimpeded by the trappings and distractions of an office, will be powerfully efficacious. Those who think Benedict has simply lain down his staff do not understand that he lays it down to pick up a flamethrower of sorts. For however long he lives as a monastic, he will be a conduit of prayer, praise, adoration and supplication for the rest of the world. He is taking on huge duty.
Speaking on life after his resignation goes into effect, the Pope stated that he could not return to a private life, nor spend his time travelling or attending meetings and conferences. “I am not abandoning the cross,” he said, “but remain in a new way with the Crucified Lord. I no longer carry the power of the office for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, within St. Peter's bounds.”
"Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives."
During his last general audience Wednesday, Benedict XVI invited firm trust in the Lord, "like children in the arms of God." The serenity of that trust has been reflected on his face today, the last of his pontificate. This morning, he addressed the cardinals for the last time, and then greeted each of them personally.
Pope's Address to Cardinals on last day of his pontificate.
"Among you, among the College of Cardinals, there is also the future Pope, to whom already today I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience"
"I wish still with my heart, my love, my prayer, my reflection, with all my inner strength, to work for the common good and the good of the Church and of humanity"Posted by Jill Fallon at February 28, 2013 3:05 PM | Permalink