Rorate Caeli

Final Audience: "I am not abandoning the Cross"

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood!
Distinguished Authorities!
Dear brothers and sisters!

Thank you for coming in such large numbers in this last General Audience of my pontificate.

As the Apostle Paul in the biblical text that we have heard, I feel in my heart to have to especially thank God that guides and builds up the Church, which is sowing his Word and thus nourishes the faith in his people. At this moment my heart expands to embrace the whole Church throughout the world, and I thank God for the “news” that in recent years the Petrine ministry I could receive about faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love that circulates in the body of the Church and to live in love, and hope that it opens and directs us towards the fullness of life, towards the heavenly homeland.

I feel I bring all in prayer, in a present that is of God, where I collect every meeting, every trip, every pastoral visit. Everything and everyone gather in prayer to entrust them to the Lord, because we have full knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, and why we behave in a manner worthy of Him and His love, bearing fruit in every good work (cf. Col 1 0.9 to 10).

At this time, there is great confidence in me, because I know, all of us know, that the word of the truth of the Gospel is the power of the Church, it is his life. The Gospel purifies and renews, bears fruit, wherever the community of believers hears and receives the grace of God in truth and lives in charity. This is my belief and this is my joy.

When, on April 19, almost eight years ago, I agreed to take on the Petrine ministry, I always had the certainty that has always accompanied me. At that time, I had already stated several times, words that have been spoken in my heart were: Lord, what do you ask of me? The weight that you place on my shoulders is very great, but if you ask me, at your word I will let down the nets, confident that you will guide me. And the Lord has really driven, I was close, I could feel his presence every day. It ‘was a part of the journey of the Church that had moments of joy and light, but also moments that were not easy. I felt like St. Peter and the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee.
The Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze. Days when the fishing is plentiful, and there were also times when the water was rough and there was a head wind, as in the whole history of the Church and it appeared to us that the Lord appeared to be sleeping. But I always knew that the boat is in the Lord and I always knew that the boat of the Church was not mine, not ours, but was his and not let her sink, it is he who leads it, certainly through men that he had chosen, because it wanted it to be so. This was and this is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. And that’s why today my heart is filled with gratitude to God because he did not ever let the Church lack in any way especially his consolation, his light, his love.

We are in the Year of Faith, which I wanted to strengthen our own faith in God in a context that seems to put it more and more into the background. I would like to invite everyone to renew their firm trust in the Lord, to trust like children in the arms of God, resting assured that those arms support us and are what allow us to walk every day, even when this requires effort. I would like everyone to feel loved by the God who gave his Son for us and showed us his love without boundaries. I want everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer to be recited daily in the morning, we pray: “I adore you, my God, I love you with all my heart. Thank you for creating me and for making me Christian … did. “Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith is the most precious thing. No one can take from us! We thank God for this every day, with prayer and with an authentic Christian life. God loves us, but waits for us and expects that we love him!

But it is not only God that I want to thank at this time. A Pope is not alone in the leading the ship of Peter, even if it is your primary responsibility, and I have not ever heard only bring joy and weight of the Petrine ministry, the Lord placed many people next to me, with generosity and love for God and the Church, have helped me and I have been close. First of all you, dear Brother Cardinals: your wisdom, your advice, your friendship was precious to me, my collaborators, starting with my Secretary of State who accompanied me faithfully over the years, the Secretariat of State and the whole of the Roman Curia, as well as all those who, in various fields, give their service to the Holy See: there are many unseen faces which are not arise, remain in the shade, but in the silence, in their daily work, in a spirit of faith and humility, they have been a safe and reliable support to me. A special thought to the Church of Rome, my diocese! I can not forget the Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, consecrated persons and the entire People of God in the pastoral visits, in meetings, at the audiences, travel, I always received great care and deep affection, but I too have loved each and every one, without exception, with that pastoral charity which is the heart of every pastor, especially the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. Every day I carried each of you in my prayers, the heart of a father.

I want my greetings to reach out to all of you, everywhere: the heart of a Pope extends to the whole world. And I would like to express my gratitude to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, which makes up, this, our great family of nations. Here I also think of all those who work for good communication system and I thank them for their important service.

At this point I would like to thank with all of my heart the many people around the world in recent weeks who have sent me touching tokens of attention, friendship and prayer. Yes, the Pope is never alone, now I experience it again in a way that is great and touches the heart. The Pope belongs to everyone and a lot of people feel very close to him. In the truth that I receive letters from the world’s largest – by the Heads of State, religious leaders, representatives of the world of culture and so on. But I also received many letters from ordinary people who write to me simply from their heart and make me feel their affection born out of experience with Christ Jesus, in the Church. These people do not write to me as they write to a prince or a great one does not know. They write as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, with the sense of family ties very affectionate. Here you can touch what is really the Church – not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian goals, but a living body, a community of brothers and sisters in the Body of Jesus Christ, who unites us all. We experience the Church in this way and could almost be able to touch it with your hands; the very power of his truth and love is a source of joy, in a time when many people speak of it in its decline.

In recent months, I felt that my strength had decreased, and I asked God earnestly in prayer to enlighten me with his light to make me take the right decision not for my sake, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step in full awareness of its severity and also new, but with a deep peace of mind. Loving the Church also means having the courage to make tough choices, suffering, having always before the good of the Church and not themselves.

Allow me to return once again to April 19, 2005. The severity of the decision was precisely in the fact that from that moment on I was always and forever committed for the Lord. Always – those who assume the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. Always and totally belongs to everyone, the entire Church. His life is, so to speak, totally deprived of the private sphere. I experienced, and I am experiencing it right now that one receives life just as He gives. I said before that a lot of people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and are very fond of him. I’ve said before that the Pope has truly brothers and sisters, sons and daughters all over the world, and that he feels in the embrace of their communion, because it no longer belongs to himself, instead he belongs to everyone, everywhere.

The “always” is also a “forever” – there is no return to the private [life]. My decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry does not revoke this fact. I am not returning to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences and so on. I am not abandoning the cross, but I am remaining at the foot of the Crucified Lord. I will no longer vest the power of the office for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer rest, so to speak, in the yard of St. Peter. St. Benedict, whose name I bare as Pope, is a great example of this. He showed us the way to a life which, active or passive, belongs wholly to the work of God

I thank each and everyone for your respect and understanding with which you have welcomed this important decision. I will continue to accompany the journey of the Church through prayer and reflection, with dedication to the Lord and to his Spouse, with which I have tried to live up to now every day and which I want to live forever. I ask you to remember me before God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals, who are called to such an important task, and the new Successor of Peter, the Lord accompany him with the light and the power of his Spirit.

Let us invoke the maternal intercession of Mary, the Mother of God and of the Church that she may accompany each of us and the whole ecclesial community, to her, as we trust, deep trust.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I offer a warm and affectionate greeting to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors who have joined me for this, my last General Audience. Like Saint Paul, whose words we heard earlier, my heart is filled with thanksgiving to God who ever watches over his Church and her growth in faith and love, and I embrace all of you with joy and gratitude. During this Year of Faith, we have been called to renew our joyful trust in the Lord’s presence in our lives and in the life of the Church. I am personally grateful for his unfailing love and guidance in the eight years since I accepted his call to serve as the Successor of Peter. I am also deeply grateful for the understanding, support and prayers of so many of you, not only here in Rome, but also throughout the world. The decision I have made, after much prayer, is the fruit of a serene trust in God’s will and a deep love of Christ’s Church. I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new Pope. In union with Mary and all the saints, let us entrust ourselves in faith and hope to God, who continues to watch over our lives and to guide the journey of the Church and our world along the paths of history. I commend all of you, with great affection, to his loving care, asking him to strengthen you in the hope which opens our hearts to the fullness of life that he alone can give. To you and your families, I impart my blessing. Thank you!world. In our heart, in the heart of each one of you, may there always be the joyous certainty that the Lord is near, do not abandon us, near us and surrounds us with his love. Thank you!
Benedict XVI
General Audience
February 27, 2013
[Translation: Radio Vaticana]

23 comments:

Daniel Rosaupan said...

Let us pray the 15 decades of the Holy Rosary for the Cardinals to elect a Holy, Traditional Pope who will rebuild and strengthen the faith of his Brothers to Jesus Christ. May the new Pope do what Christ wants him to do and not of the world. He must bring the people to Christ and not to the world. He must do what is right, though fires from heavens should fall. Viva Cristo Rey!

Gladius said...

Our Lady of the Rosary came to Fatima and requested devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary be established throughout the world.

Real, every day devotion to Our Lady was placed in a closet by the Second Vatican Council where it has remained ever since.

The only remedy to the crisis in the Church continues to be all of Christendom praying the Rosary every day.

Andrew said...

Gladius,

I am sorry to say but your comment makes no sense. Whether its the great devotion of Blessed JP II to Our Lady (Totus Tuus) to the canonization of the great Marian Knight St. Maximilian Kolbe, to the large movement to have Our Lady declared Mediatrix of All Graces/Co-Redemptrix, to devotion to the Holy Rosary, devotion to Our Blessed Mother is strong in the Church. Vatican II also said many beautiful things about Our Lady which has helped increase devotion to her. Your comment has no foundation.

Barona said...

I firmly believe that the Holy Father's resignation is for the "good of the Church". Anyone who has followed Joseph Ratzinger knows that personal considerations did not play a part. Yes, he is frail, and yes due to this frailty he has discerned that he cannot deal with the evil, the filth that is undermining the "good of the Church". The events of the past week confirm the chaos in the curia. If a ship is running well in calm waters, the captain can rely on his loyal lieutenants. But if the ship is in stormy weather, taking on water from all sides, if his lieutenants and infighting, incompetent, even hoping the ship will go down - and this same captain after careful discernment cannot deal with the crisis that needs immediate attention to save the ship - then, yes, a good captain would step aside for a stronger younger captain who can rescue the ship....

NIANTIC said...

Thank you, Holy Father, for your faith and for your love. Thank you above all for giving us back the Eternal True Mass. May God bless you and protect you and grant you eternal happines with Him.

Matt said...

We wish him well in prayer, Whatever he has decided.

I wonder if his departure is going to be televised. I'm sure EWTN will be pulling feed off of CTV.

Paul Haley said...

As I have said elsewhere, Christ did not resign the office He was given and neither should Benedict XVI. The concept of having two popes living at the same time is problematic, to say the least. Those of us who are advanced in age with physical problems untold, know full well the demands of life and we can empathize with Benedict but that does not mean we give up and retire to a monastery. No, this is a huge mistake and does not bode well for the future of the Church here on earth.

JM said...

Andrew:

How any sane person could say that Marian devotion is alive in the Church today is beyond reason. While there are pockets of sincere and GENUINE devotion the majority of today's members ignore or even have disdain for anything Marian.

Lip service is not what was asked for. Walking around with a rosary swinging, kissing the feet of a Fatima statue or visiting Lourdes is not in of itself genuine devotion. That is what your "blessed" JPII did, yet at the same time he continued the injustices against traditional priests and the entire Faithful of Catholics. He did not tell the truth about the Third Secret. Do you think Our Lady would withold graces if he had a true devotion???!!! Please!!!

When I returned to the Church, the anti-Mary Prot mentality permeated every parish. Since then the only "Marian devotions" to be found outside of Traditional circles is Medjugorie. Yikes!

Adoration chapels are filled with women who have "devotion" to Our Lady and they show up for Adoration bare-headed and in shorts because I have seen them. Again, do you think Our Lady would withold graces and not stir the consciences of these women?

Yes, there are pockets of devotees who pray at least one Rosary piously each day and are members of the Confraternity and who are Consecrated to Our Lady and do not call her only Mary but Our Lady, but you will rarely find them outside of Conciliar Vatican II circles. That is why Vatican II Catholics overwhelmingly voted for an Abortionist and a fraud. Twice.

I agree with Gladius and the foundation for his/her comments are solid because lip service to Our Lady does not count!

I am not Spartacus said...

Dear Barona: But if the ship is in stormy weather, taking on water from all sides, if his lieutenants and infighting, incompetent, even hoping the ship will go down - and this same captain after careful discernment cannot deal with the crisis that needs immediate attention to save the ship - then, yes, a good captain would step aside for a stronger younger captain who can rescue the ship....


And when they were sailing, he slept; and there came down a storm of wind upon the lake, and they were filled, and were in danger. And they came and awaked him, saying: Master, we perish. But he arising, rebuked the wind and the rage of the water; and it ceased, and there was a calm. And he said to them: Where is your faith? ...

One can only wonder about what the builder and owner of the boat thinks when he is the first captain ever to jump ship.

Celestine must be excluded as the similarities twixt Benedict and Celestine are completely different (as Dale Berra said when asked to compare himself with his Dad, Yogi).

Gratias said...

Thank you Holy Father for eight years of teachings and for restoring the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. We pray for you. Viva Papa Nostro Benedetto.

Throckmorton P. said...

Gladius,

What you stated may be accurate in the larger concept of Vatican initiatives; at the parish level the absence of Marian devotions belies your assertion, “devotion to the Holy Rosary, devotion to Our Blessed Mother is strong in the Church.” True, this belief is limited to my personal observations, but how often has anyone experienced a Novena and Litany to Mary? I know of only one church (Include also Benediction, Forty Hours, Stations, First Fridays and First Saturdays—there may be Liturgies but not promoted as Marian.) If you have all these Graces, then God bless you.

“Vatican II also said many beautiful things about Our Lady which has helped increase devotion to her.” Paraphrasing Luke 6:46, “And why call you me, Lord, Lord; and do not the things which I say?”--Why did you, VII, say many beautiful things, and not do them?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Holy Father...we'll be praying for you.

Tom S. said...

Paul Haley:

Christ did not resign his office? I was unaware that being the son of God, second person of the Holy Trinity was an "office".

Your displeasure at "having two popes" is a straw man at best - as there will not be "two popes" at all. And aside from that, problematic for whom, other than yourself?

And while I cannot speak to your age or physical condition, I can say that my late father, who passed away in September at age 86, was in no condition to run a worldwide operation such as the Catholic Church. The objective reality is that an infirm 86 year old cannot manage things as effectively as a younger, stronger man - all else being equal. To pretend otherwise is to live in denial.

As a spiritual father, one could and should go on as long as they have life in them - but the Pope is much more than that.

JB said...




@I am not Spartacus.

One of my favorite lines in the New Testament is what follows that: "What kind of man is this that even the wind and seas obey him?"

Can you imagine the utter incredulity at seeing that. It still jumps off the page all these years later.

IM said...

The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord! (cf. Job 1:21)

And then: Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all. And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess 5, 16-18 & 23)

There you have the right attitude if you ask me. He, the Good Shepherd, will take care of all things.

I think that the following words of the Holy Father show why he has chosen to keep the title of "His Holiness" and why he will keep the white attire, although with slight modifications.

[quote] The “always” is also a “forever” – there is no return to the private [life]. My decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry does not revoke this fact. I am not returning to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences and so on. I am not abandoning the cross, but I am remaining at the foot of the Crucified Lord. I will no longer vest the power of the office for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer rest, so to speak, in the yard of St. Peter. [unquote]

The Papacy is NOT something like a CEO-function, which one could lay down at will. Once a Pope, always a Pope - in a certain sense. If, after having been a Pope, Benedict XVIth would go back to being a Bishop, thát would actually make things look like a Pope could just step down and resume some old bussiness. No, Pope Benedict the XVIth seems to say: I see myself unfit to actually exercise the active ministry, and so I see it as my task to step down. Yet, I shall remain at the foot of the Cross, in prayer.

Maybe I am reading things into His words, but this is what came to my mind.

In the article "From Marcellus II to Benedict XVI and Beyond" by Dr. J. Rao we read that the rather rigorous Pope Paul IV alienated both innocent and guilty by his ferociousness. But could the Church have seen a Pope Pius IV and Pope St. Pius V, if it hadn't been for the ferocious Pope Paul IV, the author asks in his article?

And so, I would suggest, we do not know the (even greater?) good that our Lord will be able to make from this very act of the Successor of St. Peter.

Pax et bonum.

Fred said...

Is there simply anyone on the horizon for Roman Pontiff who writes as well of spiritual matters as this man, Benedict XVI?

JabbaPapa said...

Is there simply anyone on the horizon for Roman Pontiff who writes as well of spiritual matters as this man, Benedict XVI?


Obviously not.

His Holiness is one in a million.

Benedict Carter said...

Fred said:

"Is there simply anyone on the horizon for Roman Pontiff who writes as well of spiritual matters as this man, Benedict XVI?"

Not in that fussy, gentle, very German professorial way.

But we don't need more of that now.

Now, we need totally uncompromising, clear, charitable expositions of the Church's unfailing doctrine and reasons for.

There are one or two SSPX writers to would do the job very well.

Christopher said...

Barona, if you think a "stronger younger captain" is able to save the ship I must respectfully disagree. It is only Christ who can do that, and he can do it with such instruments as he chooses, even ones which, humanly speaking are not up to the task. We must have faith that even now the Lord himself is our pilot, and that out of this misstep (I say with all due respect to Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI) the God who from the sin of Adam brought about the salvation of the human race is able to bring forth something for the good of holy Church.

Anonymous said...

I believe that this is a good decision on the Popes part. We have a ever changing world and, not in a good way. We have to pray that Our Lord God, through the Holy Spirit, will choose a traditional Roman Catholic that will bring the Catholics back to the true meaning and worship of Our Roman Catholic Faith.
Our Lord Jesus has already been much offended and so many souls have been lost, because of abuse of authority of our Ordained Minsters.
I pray to the Almighty God, to restore Order to Your Holy Roman Catholic Church, and to those who are in charge of our souls. May God Bless You all and Keep you Holy. J.M.J

Bootach said...

Benedict vs Benedict, Deus Caritas Est:

35. This proper way of serving others also leads to humility. The one who serves does not consider himself superior to the one served, however miserable his situation at the moment may be. Christ took the lowest place in the world—the Cross—and by this radical humility he redeemed us and constantly comes to our aid. Those who are in a position to help others will realize that in doing so they themselves receive help; being able to help others is no merit or achievement of their own. This duty is a grace. The more we do for others, the more we understand and can appropriate the words of Christ: “We are useless servants” (Lk 17:10). We recognize that we are not acting on the basis of any superiority or greater personal efficiency, but because the Lord has graciously enabled us to do so. There are times when the burden of need and our own limitations might tempt us to become discouraged. But precisely then we are helped by the knowledge that, in the end, we are only instruments in the Lord's hands; and this knowledge frees us from the presumption of thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord. 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. To do all we can with what strength we have, however, is the task which keeps the good servant of Jesus Christ always at work: “The love of Christ urges us on” (2 Cor 5:14).

Paul Haley said...

Tom S. said...

"Paul Haley:

Christ did not resign his office? I was unaware that being the son of God, second person of the Holy Trinity was an "office".

Your displeasure at "having two popes" is a straw man at best - as there will not be "two popes" at all. And aside from that, problematic for whom, other than yourself?

And while I cannot speak to your age or physical condition, I can say that my late father, who passed away in September at age 86, was in no condition to run a worldwide operation such as the Catholic Church. The objective reality is that an infirm 86 year old cannot manage things as effectively as a younger, stronger man - all else being equal. To pretend otherwise is to live in denial.

As a spiritual father, one could and should go on as long as they have life in them - but the Pope is much more than that.

27 February, 2013 16:09"

Tom,

What I meant was that Jesus, as Head of the Church, possessed the power of Order and had, and continues to have, every "office" in the Church. That "office" in reference to Christ included the Cross and the Passion and Death that came with it. However, I can see why others would disagree with my interpretation. If it were up to me, and thank God it is not up to me, I would not have resigned the office of the papacy. But with only about 5 hours left on his self-imposed deadline, it seems likely that Benedict XVI will, indeed, resign.

I trust in God's Providence that He will provide, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, a pope who will be able to correct some of the serious problems in the Church. That we have serious problems in the Church is a fact with which I think most of us would agree.

As for whether calling two different individuals "His Holiness" is problematic or not, I'll leave that up to one's individual opinion.

As for the age`factor there is quite a difference among individuals concerning how one's age will affect one's "job" performance. But, there is always the possibility that one can get help in fulfilling those duties. Approaching age 72, I can say that without help I would not be able to do what is carved out for me. I thank those who have helped me in my life and continue to do so.

Let me just say that I believe the Pope must exercise the power of governing in a far more dramatic and positive way than has Benedict XVI. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to clarify my position. May God bless you and God bless Pope Benedict XVI.

Imrahil said...

Dear @JM,

not commenting on the rest of what you said,

but failure to comply with guidelines of the decency of past times, not now in force with any value of Church law, is no sign of a sin.

Even if, perhaps, for some reason or other, one were right to wish that they had remained binding.