Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pope Post No. 5: Pope Benedict XVI pledges 'unconditional obedience" to successor

We were told there would be no remarks by the Holy Father and only Cardinal Sodano, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, would be speaking.  Then, the Holy Father did what only the Pope could have done, and he broke the rules.  He spoke, and in his short, profound address to the Cardinals, he pledged his unconditional obedience to the next Pope.

UPDATE: Here is full text just released by Vatican Radio.  The Holy Father quoted the great Romano Guardini (see a 2008 post by Sandro Magister to understand the Pope's closeness to him)

Dear beloved brothers I welcome you all with great joy and cordially greet each one of you. I thank Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who as always, has been able to convey the sentiments of the College, Cor ad cor loquitur. Thank you, Your Eminence, from my heart. And referring to the disciples of Emmaus, I would like to say to you all that it has also been a joy for me to walk with you over the years in light of the presence of the Risen Lord. As I said yesterday, in front of thousands of people who filled St. Peter's Square, your closeness, your advice, have been a great help to me in my ministry. In these 8 years we have experienced in faith beautiful moments of radiant light in the Churches’ journey along with times when clouds have darkened the sky. 
We have tried to serve Christ and his Church with deep and total love which is the soul of our ministry. We have gifted hope that comes from Christ alone, and which alone can illuminate our path. Together we can thank the Lord who has helped us grow in communion, to pray to together, to help you to continue to grow in this deep unity so that the College of Cardinals is like an orchestra, where diversity, an expression of the universal Church, always contributes to a superior harmony of concord. I would like to leave you with a simple thought that is close to my heart, a thought on the Church, Her mystery, which is for all of us, we can say, the reason and the passion of our lives. I am helped by an expression of Romano Guardini’s, written in the year in which the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council approved the Constitution Lumen Gentium, his last with a personal dedication to me, so the words of this book are particularly dear to me.

Guardini says: "The Church is not an institution devised and built at table, but a living reality. She lives along the course of time by transforming Herself, like any living being, yet Her nature remains the same. At Her heart is Christ. "This was our experience yesterday, I think, in the square. We could see that the Church is a living body, animated by the Holy Spirit, and truly lives by the power of God, She is in the world but not of the world. She is of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, as we saw yesterday. This is why another eloquent expression of Guardini’s is also true: "The Church is awakening in souls." The Church lives, grows and awakens in those souls which like the Virgin Mary accept and conceive the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. They offer to God their flesh and in their own poverty and humility become capable of giving birth to Christ in the world today. Through the Church the mystery of the Incarnation remains present forever. Christ continues to walk through all times in all places. Let us remain united, dear brothers, to this mystery, in prayer, especially in daily Eucharist, and thus serve the Church and all humanity. This is our joy that no one can take from us.

Prior to bidding farewell to each of you personally, I want to tell you that I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the next few days, so that you may all be fully docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new Pope. May the Lord show you what is willed by Him. And among you, among the College of Cardinals, there is also the future Pope, to whom, here to today, I already promise my unconditional reverence and obedience. For all this, with affection and gratitude, I cordially impart upon you my Apostolic Blessing.

Before the Pope spoke, Cardinal Sodano offered a statement on behalf of the Cardinals.  Here is a partial quote, translated from Zenit.

Beloved and revered Successor of Peter, it is we who must thank you for the example you have given us in the past eight years of your Pontificate. On April 19, 2005 you came to join the long line of successors of the Apostle Peter, and today, February 28, 2013, you prepare to leave us, waiting for the helm of the barque of Peter to pass into other hands. There shall thus continue that apostolic succession, which the Lord has promised to his Holy Church, until the voice of the Angel of the Apocalypse is heard on earth proclaiming: Tempus not erit amplius... consummabitur mysterium Dei"(Rev 10: 6-7) "There will be no more delay: the mystery of God will be fulfilled!" Thus shall end the history of the Church, together with the history of the world, with the advent of a new heaven and a new earth. 
Holy Father, with deep love we have tried to accompany you on your journey, reliving the experience of the disciples of Emmaus who, after walking with Jesus for a good stretch of road, said to one another: "Were not our hearts burning within us, while he spoke to us along the way?"(Lk 24:32). 
Yes, Holy Father, know that our hearts, too, burned while we walked with you these past eight years.Today we want to once again express our gratitude to you. We repeat in chorus a typical expression of your dear native land: Vergelt's Gott, may God reward you!

Later, I will update this post with full text of the Pope's remarks once it is available.  I'm sure not a few people are scrambling to get it translated and out there.

For now, Rome Reports has put together this video brief on the meeting.

You might be able to catch the whole video review at Vatican TV here, where recordings are kept until there is something else.  I'll have to swing back and find the archive later. When we get close to 5:00 PM Rome time, this link will give you a live feed of his departure, explained below.


Tune in to EWTN or Vatican TV before 5:00 PM (11:00 AM ET) and watch the Holy Father depart by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo.  That is about a 15-20 minute ride.  It is expected that cameras will be rolling there and some are hoping he will greet the people through his window there.  No remarks are planned, but... he's still the Pope until 8:00 PM Rome time so anything can happen.


Some were perplexed by the Holy Father's remarks that he could not return to private life.  On the other hand he won't lead a public life.  My take on that was that the Pope Benedict XVI was going "monastic." A monk becomes hidden to the world as he leads a life of prayer and sacrifice.  This is how I took his message.  My thought was that he wouldn't want to risk that people would try to pit his words against those of the new pope, or for others to look for approval from him on anything the new pope does.  For this reason, he feels the need to be hidden.  He cannot take retirement like others and just go about business.  One thing I hope the next pope will do, is to invite him to finish an encyclical on faith, which is reportedly in draft.  It wouldn't be completed in encyclical form, but perhaps could be completed as a book.  Many were anticipating this to complete a trilogy of encyclicals (on faith, hope, and charity). The one on charity was completed in 2007 (Caritas in Veritatis); the one on hope in 2009 (Spe Salvi). He also wrote the social encyclical Deus Caritas Est in 2005.

The commentary I want to pass along is one I read by Phil Lawler.  He explains the challenges of having a living emeritus pope along with the new pope.


If you have not done so yet, Adopt a Cardinal to pray for now, and through the Conclave, and for 3 days after.  It was 19,000 the other day, and it now shows nearly 100,000 participating at the time of this posting.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.