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.