Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Processing a Great Loss


As I’m sure most of you are aware, Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father of the Catholic Church announced his abdication yesterday. For those who are interested, here is the full text of his brief, humble, and profound speech, translated into English.

I am sad, of course, and I am shaken. I am sad because I am saying good-bye to a great man, a great mentor, a great father. I am shaken because it hurts to say good-bye.

I am not afraid. I know God is at work. I know, even in the face of vitriolic criticism, the Church will remain strong.

I am joyful, because I trust the Supreme Vicar of the Church, Jesus Christ. I trust my Father God. I know that the next pope called to guide our Church will, as all pontiffs have for two millenia now, carry on the teaching of Christ.

I admire my Pope for his discernment, as I admired his predecessor for his strength and conviction in persevering through a terrible, debilitating illness.

If you are Catholic, I join with you today in praying for the coming conclave. Let us invoke the intercession of our Holy Mother, as Pope Benedict did, that she may comfort and guide those whose duty it is to choose the newest Bishop of Rome.

If you are not Catholic, and you are wondering how to respond to Catholic friends or family, I offer this advice: Be kind. Be quiet. Listen. Offer your condolences for our loss. Offer no speculation. Give love. Respect our loss.

Blessed Pope John Paul II, pray for us, and for your brother, Pope Benedict XVI.


  1. The word abdication threw me; I see it more as a resignation. According to the dictionary: To abdicate is an involuntary act; renounce and resign are voluntary. He is doing an honorable and voluntary act by resigning. Sorry to be picky but the slight clarity helps me.

  2. Amen. Well said. I must admit my first reaction was one of disbelief. The Holy Father and the college of cardinals all need our prayers and support during this time.

  3. Anonymous: abdication is the official ecclesiastical (ie. Church) term regarding the resignation of a clerical office: http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/a/abdication.html I hope that helps to clarify the term for you.

  4. Having just entered the Church two years ago, we feel that Pope Benedict is "our" Pope, if you know what I mean. I just admire him so much!! I am sad, too, but so hopeful for the future. Last night at Ash Wednesday Mass I was thinking that he was so wise in announcing this decision when he did - at the start of Lent when we are being more mindful about prayer and sacrifice. I'll be praying - along with you and the whole Church - for Pope Benedict as well as the College of Cardinals as they prepare to choose his successor!

  5. More a question, Bethany...aren't you ever coming back?
    I miss your posts! They do me worlds of good, and cause me to think a lot more in depth about a lot more things.
    I realize you have plenty to do with homeschooling and a new baby and all, but -
    Where have you been?



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