Monday, 11 February 2013

Pope Benedict XVI's resignation letter in full

The Pope's complete resignation letter published below, following his shock resignation from the Papacy.

by S. Taalay Ahmed

"Dear Brothers,

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.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

BENEDICTUS PP XVI"

The Pope, elected in 2005, was approaching the age of 86 and suffered from health issues. He was said to be finding it increasingly difficult to travel and continue his duties. He is the first Pope to resign of his own free will in several centuries. 

Born Joseph Ratzinger, he had been a senior church figure before ascending to the Papacy. This was despite having served in the Hitler Youth as a young man. He had had to deal with such controversies as the child abuse scandal. 

The Pope began to use his Twitter account @Pontifex in recent months and had gained an online following of over 1.5 million already. His last tweet, issued yesterday, read: "We must trust in the mighty power of God’s mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new." @Taalay

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