February 11, 2013
The Holy Father
brought the tender heart of a pastor, the incisive mind of a scholar and the
confidence of a soul united with His God in all he did. His resignation is but
another sign of his great care for the Church. We are sad that he will be
resigning but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership as successor
of St. Peter.
78 when he elected pope in 2005, he set out to meet his people – and they were
of all faiths – all over the world. He visited the religiously threatened –
Jews, Muslims and Christians in the war-torn Middle East, the desperately poor
in Africa, and the world’s youth gathered to meet him in Australia, Germany,
delighted our beloved United States of America when he visited Washington and
New York in 2008. As a favored statesman he greeted notables at the White
House. As a spiritual leader he led the Catholic community in prayer at
Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. As a pastor feeling
pain in a stirring, private meeting at the Vatican nunciature in Washington, he
brought a listening heart to victims of sexual abuse by clerics.
Benedict often cited the significance of eternal truths and he warned of a
dictatorship of relativism. Some values, such as human life, stand out above
all others, he taught again and again. It is a message for eternity.
unified Catholics and reached out to schismatic groups in hopes of drawing them
back to the church. More unites us than divides us, he said by word and deed.
That message is for eternity.
spoke for the world’s poor when he visited them and wrote of equality among
nations in his peace messages and encyclicals. He pleaded for a more equitable
share of world resources and for a respect for God’s creation in nature.
who met him, heard him speak and read his clear, profound writings found
themselves moved and changed. In all he said and did he urged people everywhere
to know and have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
occasion of his resignation stands as an important moment in our lives as
citizens of the world. Our experience impels us to thank God for the gift of
Pope Benedict. Our hope impels us to pray that the College of Cardinals under
the inspiration of the Holy Spirit choose a worthy successor to meet the
challenges present in today’s world.