Pope Benedict’s Retirement: Father Peter Coughlin’s Thoughts

Vatican CityIn many ways the world was stunned by the unexpected announcement that Pope Benedict was to resign his office as Pope on February 28, 2013.  Having come to the Chair of St. Peter at the age of 78 he had to fulfill the office vacated by the death of his much-loved predecessor, John Paul II.  And yet, in his own right, as a brilliant theologian, writer and teacher he, through his love for the Church and care for its needs, has made a great impact on the faith of the people.

Pope BenedictCatholics, the world over, recognize his wisdom and courage in choosing to resign his office, not only because of his deteriorating health but because he recognized the demands of his position required more strength and stamina than he had left to give.  To resign the position of Pope is not something new; it is just that it hasn’t happened for several centuries.  Pope Benedict’s resignation gives the Cardinals time to pray and reflect on what the needs of the Church are in the present day and for the future as they approach their sacred duty of electing Pope Benedict’s successor.

Catholics love “their Pope” and Benedict is loved and respected, a man, a priest, a bishop, a cardinal raised to the See of Peter.  He has always stood for truth and clarity of faith. I, for one, was delighted when he was chosen to become Pope because I know the clarity of his theology and teaching.  Each Pope adds his gift to the Church just as every pastor brings his unique gifts to a parish.  Catholics are saddened to see the end of a papal reign but look forward to whom God is sending to lead us forward in faith.

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