Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd as the arrives to make remarks at the end of a Mass for the Knights of Malta in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Feb. 9. The pope announced Feb. 11 that he will resign Feb. 28. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Vatican City, Feb 11, 2013
/ 07:20 am (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI told a gathering of cardinals Feb. 11
that he no longer has the strength to carry out ministry and will resign on
“I have convoked you to
this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate
to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.
“After having repeatedly
examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my
strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise
of the Petrine ministry,” Pope Benedict said.
He made his remarks in
Latin to a meeting of cardinals who were gathered to vote on whether or not to
canonize three people.
The last pontiff to resign
was Pope Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415.
At a quickly arranged Feb.
11 press conference, Father Federico Lombardi told the media that there is no
sickness the Pope is suffering from that is behind this decision.
“It’s something that
happens normally in people with advanced age,” the Vatican spokesman said.
Pope Benedict observed his
lack of strength “over the past few months and courageously came to this decision,”
the spokesman said.
He also stressed that Pope
Benedict made the decision after carefully examining his conscience and the
responsibilities of his office.
“This is an absolutely
personal decision made with his conscience before God,” he remarked.
One member of the press
commented on the contrast between Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II, who
suffered with Parkinson’s disease until he passed away on April 2005.
Fr. Lombardi said Benedict XVI respects the decision of his predecessor
and that with his suffering he offered a great testimony to the Church.