Pope Benedict to Step Down

P. Benedict XVI, 2010My heart is heavy with the announcement by our beloved Pope Benedict XVI that he will resign as Pontiff on February 28. In his announcement spoken in Latin to a small gathering of Cardinals, he said:

Dear Brothers,
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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013


As the conclave prepares to gather, let us begin our prayer for the election for the new pope:

PeterO Lord, with suppliant humility we entreat Thee, that in Thy boundless mercy Thou wouldst grant the most holy Roman Church a pontiff, who, by his zeal for us, may be pleasing to Thee, and by his good government may ever be honored by Thy people for the glory of Thy name. Through our Lord. (Collect)


This too is still an appropriate prayer for the Pope.

Shameless Popery posted this prayer.

Vatican Radio Reports

Dolan: “Thank God for the gift of Pope Benedict”

The Pope’s Paper: “Benedict Leaves” (Rocco Palmo)

Papal Conclave Electors and Other Information (Dr. Edward Peters)

On Pope’s Resignation

Notes About the Upcoming Conclave (Fr. Zuhlsdorf)


Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas; Pope offers Prayers for Peace – UPDATE

As reported by Catholic Culture: “Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, has responded to criticism of Pope Benedict by the former grand mufti of Egypt.” They went on to quote from Father Lombardi’s Vatican Radio address, the main points being:

–  A reiteration of the Holy See’s commitment to promote religious freedom, “…for the religious freedom of Christians has always been within the context of his (the Pope’s) concern for the religious freedom of all people, not only Christians.”

–  A need for people of all faiths to work towards peace, to “commit themselves to opposing a foul plan that evidently aims to divide, to arouse tension, hatred and conflict.”  This is tied to the Pope’s invitation for a peace summit in Assisi this coming October.

–  Coptic Christians begin their Christmas celebrations tomorrow evening, January 6th. We are encouraged to “unite ourselves to them in profound solidarity with their suffering and with prayers for the peace of all their communities.”

It is this last point that I dedicate this post. To our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters, as they begin their celebrations of Christmas (coinciding with the day many Christians traditionally celebrate the Epiphany of Christ). May this Christmas bring healing and peace to their wounded hearts and communities.

Come then, let us adore the newborn King, the Christ who comes to save us all, and extend the prayers for peace of Pope Benedict XVI: “We pray especially for peace throughout the world, and I invite all of you to join in heartfelt prayer to Christ the Prince of Peace for an end to violence and conflict wherever they are found.”:

Dormi, Jesu! Mater ridet,
quae tam dulcem somnum videt,
Dormi, Jesu blandule!
Si non dormis, mater plorat.
Inter fila cantans orat:
Blande veni somnule!
Sleep, sweet babe my cares beguiling,
Mother sits beside thee smiling,
Sleep, my darling, tenderly,
If thou sleep not, mother mourneth,
Singing as her wheel she turneth,
Come, soft slumber, balmily.


UPDATE: Egyptian Muslims to act as Human Shields for Coptic Christian neighbors


Father Zuhlsdorf: Grand Imam in Egypt disagrees with Pope Benedict’s call for respect for Christian lives

Lisa Graas: Vatican to Egyptian Imam: ‘No war may be waged in God’s name’

Michael Coren: Religious Intolerance

Memorial to the Unborn

Having begun Advent with a Vigil of Prayer for Nascent Life, and inspiring words of Pope Benedict XVI as we wait with the unborn Christ, my thoughts often turn to the plight facing many unborn children today as our society becomes more and more willing to listen to the voices of others to override the innate response we have to protect life at all costs. It is for this, I have on my sidebar this picture of the unborn Christ – He is on His way!

Women are, by their very nature, called to nurture and protect the lives of their children at all costs. Yet, some are willing to go against that instinct and allow others to lie to them that life is not growing in their bodies. And for what? If a mother is not willing to protect the life of her child, what hope is there for our culture – for our future?

What is happening to our society? Some people point the need to reduce the number of births (by means including abortion) to reduce man’s carbon footprint. Others – including heads of state and nations – claim the need to fund abortion under measures entitled ‘women’s reproductive heath’. These point, of course, to taking innocent lives at the words of ‘science’, when at the same time ignore the science that the unborn child is, in fact, a developing human being with his own DNA…the Child is on His Way!

Two bloodbaths of innocents mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures don’t compare to what we as a culture are doing today:

The Book of Exodus, chapter one recounts the slavery of the Hebrews in Egypt, and Pharaoh, afraid of the growing number of the slaves, suppressed them and seeing they were still increasing in number, ordered all Hebrew baby boys to be put to death, throwing them in the river.

The Gospel of Matthew, chapter two retells the story of Joseph rising in the night and taking Jesus and his mother Mary, departing for Egypt by the prompting of an angel. It was revealed to Joseph that the King Herod sought the child because he feared the conquering of his rule. All the boys in Bethlehem and surrounding territories – two years and under – were slaughtered (the Church celebrates their feast day – the Holy Innocents – on December 28th.

Instead of a King Herod killing every child under the age of two because they are a threat to his kingship, we have many calling for the funding of abortion that has killed more than 56 million children since 1973.  What makes this crime more gruesome, is that it is often at the request of the child’s own mother.

I came across this Memorial at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (the parish of my childhood), and I think it leaves us a wonderful meditation on the Gift of Christmas – the coming of the Christ Child.

The words on the plaque below the sculpture read:

Loving God,

Thank you for the gift of family.

Embrace all children denied the miracle of life.

Fill us with good health, love and compassion.

Protect all families and give us strength to serve you.


Let us, then, as we anticipate the coming of the King of Kings, pray in anticipation of all unborn children as well, that each will be welcomed into the world as a gift of unmeasurable price.