A fond farewell to Pope Benedict XVI

Saying good-bye to Pope Benedict XVI is sad, but we trust in God.

Pope Benedict XVI

When I heard the news on Monday, 11th February 2013 that Pope Benedict was resigning, I thought the friend who had told me was mistaken, or that it was a hoax, and I surmised that it was impossible for a pope to resign.

Checking the online news, I realised it was no mistake, nor a hoax, and that it was possible for a pope to resign. Indeed, a number had done so in the past, such as Pope Martin I (649-655), Pope Benedict V (964), Pope Benedict IX (1032-1045), Pope Celestine V (1294) and Pope Gregory XII (1406-1415).  With great sadness, Pope Benedict would be leaving on the 28th February 2013.

My feelings were mixed: I felt shocked, sad, abandoned and anxious for the future of the Catholic Church. Benedict, for me, had been heaven’s confirmation of Blessed John Paul II’s extraordinary papacy, which had been so criticised by the secular world. I had always felt very connected to Pope Benedict and had a great fondness for him; I had seen him many times during the years 2005 and 2010 as I had been a part-time student in Rome studying bioethics at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum. It felt like the end of an era for me.

This said, my initial feelings soon gave way to faith and reason. I know that Pope Benedict is a holy and humble man of deep prayer and that he would have sought God’s Will in this most serious of matters. And it is precisely because he is such a holy and humble person that he has stepped down at this moment in time. He has guided the Catholic Church to this point and now the Holy Spirit is preparing us for the next steps on our pilgrim journey.

Pope and 3 kids

As Catholics, we are called to trust in God’s providential care, and so we place ourselves in His hands. In prayer, we thank God for the wonderful and blessed gift of Pope Benedict XVI and we entrust him to God during his retirement. We also send up our prayers for the cardinals who are tasked with electing the 266th pope.

In faith we trust and have confidence that all shall be well.

February 11, 2013. Papal news, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Leave a comment.