Benedict’s resignation: hints were there all along


Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter’s Square, recalling moments of “joy and light” during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire. AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

VATICAN CITY— Benedict XVI stunned the world when he announced Feb. 11 he would resign as pope. But in retrospect, all the signs were there, and they even accelerated in recent months. Here’s a look at the hints Benedict dropped starting in 2005, his first year as pope, indicating that unlike his predecessors over 600 years, his papacy would end in retirement, not death.

—In his first encyclical “God is Love” — published eight months after he was elected — Benedict wrote about service. “It is God who governs the world, not we. We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength.”

—Five years later, in the 2010 book “Light of the World,” Benedict made it more explicit, and personal. “If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.”

—In March, according to the Vatican newspaper, he decided to resign after an exhausting trip to Mexico and Cuba. He told only a handful of people and the only visible sign for those in the know would come seven months later when renovations began on the monastery in the Vatican gardens where he will live.

—In June, the Vatican appointed Fox News correspondent Greg Burke as a senior media adviser in the secretariat of state, perhaps anticipating the crush of media interest in all things Vatican. Burke has become a much sought-after television commentator in recent weeks.

—In November, Benedict created six new cardinals — not a single one from Italy or Europe — making a very international final mark on the club that would elect his successor.

—In December, he received the final report of the commission of cardinals investigating the leaks of his personal papers and he pardoned the butler who stole them, closing a chapter on an embarrassing and damaging scandal so that his successor wouldn’t have to deal with it. He has, however, left it for the new pope to decide what to do with the report.

—In December, he named his closest aide Monsignor Georg Gaenswein to be head of the papal household and promoted him to an archbishop, thus assuring his future career after Benedict was no longer pope.

—In January, he consolidated the Vatican’s media accreditation operations, perhaps in anticipation of the throngs of journalists converging on Rome for the conclave.

—Also in January, he named a new director of the Vatican’s television operations, which are being heavily taxed by the demands of the resignation and conclave. The appointment relieved the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, of one of his three main jobs and enabled him to focus exclusively on his role as spokesman and head of Vatican Radio.

—And in late January or early February, he reportedly halted the presses of the Annuario Pontificio, the Vatican’s annual yearbook, which normally is printed in early February for publication in March. The book, which in 2012 ran some 2,435 pages, is now not due out until May, La Stampa newspaper reported.

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  • EC

    Benedict XVI might have hinted of his resignation all along but the thickness and stupidity of Philippine bishops like Navarra must be the last straw.

  • basilionisisa

    makikidagdag ako sa intriga sa Pope’s resignation… babaw kasi ng reason nya (health), eh ang daming mahina din ang health at namatay na lang sa ‘office’, palagay ko may ibang dahilan na mas hindi nya makaya… ng conscience?

    wondering kung ala-Scarlet Letter ang ‘problema’ nya, but in broader sense? (referring to the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel)

    just kidding!

  • $38346712

    The word college is more appropriate than the word club of cardinals.

  • libra25

    The Pope had the delicadeza to step down and not cling to power bc he knows he has reached a threshold due to health or otherwise.  Our politicians should follow his lead. They cling to their posts like leeches and would do everything in their power to stay there.

  • dexter ngayan

    Who is John Galt? 

    • gibreel farishta

      ayn rand’s..

  • joshua kings

    benedict’s statements is what disappoints me…..
    he relies more on his own finite, human understanding than Faith.
    what happened to his avowed trusting in the Lord with all his might, ……?

  • mxsclxmxn

    Since Luther, what consequences have followed from the use of the ‘Bible-only’ theory and its personal interpretation?

    Just what Saint Paul foretold when he said: ‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.’ 2 Timothy 4-3 (Protestant edition). According to the World Almanac for 1953 there are in the United States 20 different organizations of Methodists, 22 kinds of Baptists, 10 branches of Presbyterians, 13 organizations of Mennonites, 18 of Lutherans and hundreds of other denominations.

    The ‘Bible-only’ theory ONLY indeed cater to the “Self-exaltation of the Individual”, but it certainly does not contribute to the ACQUISITION of Divine Truth.

  • mxsclxmxn

    What became of the unwritten truths which Our Lord and the Apostles taught? 

    The Church had carefully conserved this ‘word of mouth’ teaching by historical records called Tradition. Even the Protestant Bible teaches that many Christian truths were to be handed down by word of mouth.

    2 Thessalonians 2-14: Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
    2 Timothy 2-2: And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

    Hence not only Scripture but other sources of information must be consulted to get the whole of Christ’s teaching. Religions founded on ‘the Bible only are therefore necessarily incomplete.

  • mxsclxmxn

    The Doctrine of Sola Scriptura Produces Bad Fruit, Namely, Division and Disunity.

    If the doctrine of Sola Scriptura were true, then it should be expected that Protestants would all be in agreement in terms of doctrine, as the Bible could not simultaneously teach contradictory beliefs. And yet the reality is that there are literally thousands (35) of Protestant sects and denominations, each of which claims to have the Bible as its only guide, each of which claims to be preaching the truth, yet each of which teaches something different from the others. Protestants claim that they differ only in non-essential or peripheral matters, but the fact is that they cannot even agree on major doctrinal issues such as the Eucharist, salvation, and justification – to name a few.

    For instance, most Protestant denominations teach that Jesus Christ is only symbolically present in the Eucharist, while others (such as Lutherans and Episcopalians) believe that He is literally present, at least to some extent. Some denominations teach that once you are “saved” you can never lose your salvation, while others believe it is possible for a true Christian to sin gravely and cease being “saved.” And some denominations teach that justification involves the Christian’s being merely declared righteous, while others teach that the Christian must also grow in holiness and actually become righteous.

  • mxsclxmxn

    The Doctrine of Sola Scriptura Produces Bad Fruit, Namely, Division and Disunity.

    Our Lord categorically never intended for His followers to be as fragmented, disunited and chaotic as the history of Protestantism has been since its very inception. (36) Quite the contrary, He prayed for His followers: “That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us.” (John 17:21). And St. Paul exhorts Christians to doctrinal unity with the words, “One body and one Spirit… One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Eph. 4:4-5). How, then, can the thousands of Protestant denominations and sects all claim to be the “true Church” when their very existence refutes this claim? How can such heterodoxy and contradiction in doctrine be the unity for which Our Lord prayed?

    In this regard, the reader should be reminded of Christ’s own words: “For by the fruit the tree is known.” (Matt. 12:33). By this standard, the historical testimony afforded by Protestantism demonstrates that the tree of Sola Scriptura is producing bad fruit.

  • Don

    This could all be diplomacy.  he was forced to resign because he declared that there is no purgatory? laymen will never really know.  but keep in mind that his declaration is a major embarrassment to Rome.  After all, Purgatory has been a major business of Rome because through it, people had to pay indulgences.  When the protestants declared that it was not in the Bible, the Roman Church massacred millions of Protestants and confiscated their properties in the medieval ages all the way to the early 1800s.  
    What a farce this Church is.  And come to think that the Popes have claimed infallibility for ages.

    • mxsclxmxn

      The Protestant Bible Is Missing 7 Entire Books

      Much to their chagrin, Protestants are actually guilty of violating their own doctrine. 

      The doctrine of Sola Scriptura prohibits anyone from adding to or deleting from the Bible, but Protestants have, in fact, deleted seven entire books from the Old Testament, as well as portions of two others. The books in question, which are wrongly termed “the Apocrypha” (“not authentic”) by Protestants, are called the “deuterocanonical” (“second canon”) books by Catholics: they are Tobias (Tobit), Judith, 1 and 2 Machabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach), and Baruch. Portions of Daniel and Esther are also missing.

      The 2 Machabees has references of the purgatory. That is why the protestants remove this too!

  • mxsclxmxn

    Born Again?


    Many non-Catholics, in their confused zeal for Jesus, are
    constantly asking Catholics if we are “born again,” admonishing us
    that unless we are “born again” we cannot be saved. But you see,
    Catholics, like St. John the Evangelist in the
    third chapter of his Gospel, relate the phrase “born again” to the
    results of Baptism. Baptism is how we enter into the New Covenant, in the same
    way the Hebrews and Israelites entered the Old Covenant through circumcision
    (which, you’ll note, was done to infants).


    When many Protestants use the phrase “born again,”
    they seem to be referring to an “emotional experience.” They often
    expect instant transformation (which can certainly happen), speaking in
    tongues, miracles, etc. as some sort of “proof” of having been
    “born again.”


    Traditional Catholics most certainly agree that repentance
    (what we call “metanoia”) is necessary and that inner transformation
    (what we call “sanctification”) is the goal, but we are very
    conscious of not confusing “feelings” with “faith.” These
    are two different things, and mere “feelings” can lie: ask anyone
    who’s ever been “love-bombed” in a cult, experienced cocaine or
    Ecstasy, or is just having a really excellent day. These sorts of experiences
    must be discerned, and the spirits must be tested! Remember what Christ said
    would happen even back in the first century:


    Matthew 24:24

    For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and
    shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they
    shall deceive the very elect.


    It is important to test the spirits and not devalue reason
    and doctrine! Know that the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace,
    longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance according
    to Galatians 5:22-23. The fruits of the Spirit are not out of control shaking,
    screaming, running around, falling down, “holy laughter,”
    vocalizations that don’t edify the Church. One should be more in control of
    one’s self after an encounter with the Holy Spirit, not less. Being filled with
    the Holy Spirit would be an experience “being in ecstasy” or
    “having a mystical encounter.”

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