MARY, OUR MOTHER

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Moynihan Report: Letter #28: Helicopter

Helicopter 

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

This evening, while the sun was still shining, Pope Benedict XVI left the Apostolic Palace inside Vatican City, accompanied by Cardinal Angelo Comastri and Cardinal Agostino Vallini.

At about 5 p.m., before getting in the car that would take him to the helicopter, he said goodbye to the staff at the Vatican, and to Cardinal Angelo Sodano and Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo.

At 5:05 p.m., as the bells at St. Peter’s Basilica rang out across the Square, the all-white helicopter took off towards Castel Gandolfo.

The flight first swept toward the Janiculum Hill, then turned and in a long arc passed back over St. Peter’s Basilica, then across the Tiber River and over the center of the Eternal City, above some of the major landmarks, like the Colosseum and the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

Upon arriving at Castel Gandolfo, after about a 15-minute flight, the Pope was welcomed by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the bishop of Albano, as well as the mayor of Castel Gandolfo.

A car took the Pope to the the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo at about 5:30 p.m. Hundreds of pilgrims were there to hear the last few words of Benedict XVI as Pope.

The Pope entered the palace, then appeared at the window above the main portals.

The Pope’s words from the window of the palace:

“I am simply a pilgrim that begins his last phase on this Earth,” Benedict said.

“I would like to, with all my heart, my prayer and my reflection, with all the strength inside me, work for the common good and the good of the Church and humanity.

“I feel very supported by your sympathy.

“Lets move forward together, with the Lord, for the good of the Church and the world. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing.”

After giving them his blessing, Benedict XVI said goodbye. It was his last appearance as Pope.

At 8 p.m., his pontificate ended, and the “sede vacante” began.

His light in the papal apartments was dark this evening. In the square below, small groups of faithful were praying quietly, or singing hymns, at 10 p.m. this evening.

During the period when there is no Pope, all Vatican department heads will temporarily lose their posts, until a new Pope is elected.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the “Camerlengo” or Chamberlain, sealed the empty Papal apartments to prevent anyone from entering or exiting until the new Pope is elected.

Tomorrow, March 1st, all cardinals will receive a letter from the Dean of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano. The letter will officially state that Benedict XVI has retired, calling on them to come to Rome to elect his successor.

It is still not clear when the actual Conclave will begin. The Italian cardinals seem to prefer having an early Conclave, beginning as early as March 9, but some of the non-Italian cardinals would seem to prefer a Conclave that begins later, on March 15, or even a few days later.

(to be continued…)

 

Our Lady Queen of Peace of Medjugorje and Pope Benedict – the Future?


February 28, 2013 A.D.
 

It was April 19, 2005. People began to call Caritas and said the conclave has elected a new pope. It would be announced soon. The whole Community of Caritas gathered around the radio for the exciting news of who would step out on the balcony. The white smoke had risen up, signaling to the world the conclave of Cardinals had chosen a successor of Peter after Pope John Paul II’s death. But though it was announced that the one who would be the man who would step out on the balcony, would take place in “the next few minutes,” it did not happen. Cameras around the world showed the vacant balcony, while across the earth, millions waited. The delay continued even as reports continued to say that it was about to happen. As the delay strangely continued, we, at Caritas, began to experience a conflict. It was 11:00 a.m.* and the bells had begun ringing to call us to the Field for the prayer of the Rosary. We pray this Rosary at the same time the evening Rosary is being prayed in Medjugorje in anticipation of Our Lady’s daily apparition to the earth. With the bells beginning to ring, we knew we were 40 minutes away from apparition time. Though we had already been listening to the radio for a ½ hour, we began heading to the Field. Never, since 1988, has the Rosary not been prayed in the Field. Every day, consecutively for 25 years to date, the Rosary has been prayed in the Field on our knees in preparation for Our Lady’s visitation upon the earth. Even for this occasion, we were not going to stop the Rosary, though we dearly wanted to hear on the radio when the new Pontiff was named the moment he stepped out. We were all disappointed over this when the idea came that we would take a pickup truck out to the Field and leave the live radio broadcast playing while we prayed the Rosary, turning it down where we could barely hear it. We began the Rosary. The older kids sat with the four doors opened ready to turn the radio up at the moment the new Pontiff walked out. The first decade – no Pope. The second and third – the same. We were amazed, “Why is this taking so long? They know who it is. Why doesn’t he come forward?” By now, the news reporters were complaining that it was an unusual delay. Here it was announced he would come out within five minutes and now we were going beyond an hour waiting. The fourth decade was prayed. We began the fifth decade. Why such a delay?


Years ago, we were going to Rome often because of our mission. We had an apartment just across the street from the Vatican. It is the closest living quarters to St. Peters you can get. When you looked out the windows of the apartment, you did not look out over buildings or the Vatican walls. You were looking directly at St. Peters Basilica and the opening to the famous square just next door. In a one minute walk out the apartment door, you could cross the street and pass in front of the building where the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Faith offices are located. Sometimes, as we walked, we would cross paths in St. Peter’s square with Cardinal Ratzinger who at times would walked to his office as head of the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Faith. We would say hello and he would smile and respond back in English. We casually walk by not wanting to bother him by stopping and talking to him, though we had been told he would talk to those who asked to speak to him. This time was the period of John Paul II’s reign. So who could have known these simple encounters with Ratzinger would mean something much more a couple of years later?
 

In the Field of Apparitions, on April 19, 2005, we finished the fifth decade of the Rosary and began the Hail Holy Queen. No pope on the balcony – the delay continued. Right on time for the apparition of Our Lady at 11:40 a.m., we finished the prayer and at this exact moment, out steps the new Pope. Pope Benedict! Cardinal Ratzinger!
 

Some of us could have never imagined in that transition after John Paul’s death that the humble man who we had met on a few occasions crossing the Vatican square, who had been so accessible to anyone who stopped him, would suddenly become the Holy Father for a billion people.
 

Immediately after Rosary, we called Marija in Italy and talked to her about what happened. She, like us, was in conflict anxiously waiting for the next Pope to step out on the balcony. As we listened in the Field, at the same time praying the Rosary, Marija was praying the Rosary and waiting while watching the empty balcony on an Italian network. Marija had finished her Rosary and began reciting the Our Fathers, Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s for the arrival of Our Lady. Just seconds before the moment of the apparition, the broadcast announced the new Pope was stepping out. It was at this moment Our Lady appeared to Marija. The whole world watched as the former Cardinal Ratzinger, now the new Pontiff Pope Benedict XVI, stepped out onto the balcony while Marija watched Our Lady!
 

Instantly the whole world knew who it was within only a few seconds, while Marija did not know! Marija told us that she went into ecstasy just as the new Pontiff was going to step out. She said she didn’t know who it was until after the apparition! We asked Marija about this timing of the Pope stepping out after more than an hour’s delay, at the same time of the apparition, that this could not, by any chance, not be a sign of God that Pope Benedict was Our Lady’s choice.
 

Marija continued, yes, it was a sign for her as well. When Marija was asked what did this repeated delay mean when it ended exactly with the moment Our Lady appeared, Marija said something profound. She said it meant, “The Church is safe!”
 

This was a sign, a big sign for us the way it unfolded – the delay and then at the moment Pope Benedict comes out, Our Lady is appearing upon the earth, signaling to us THE CHURCH IS SAFE.


So now what are we to make of the events of Pope Benedict’s sudden resignation – this eight year period coming to an end of the Church being safe under Benedict’s care? What are we to make of the timing of his announcement, of his stepping down, and that the incredible lightning bolt following his resignation, dramatically striking not only the Vatican, but the Cross on top of St. Peter’s Basilica itself ? It is Our Lady who said:
 

March 25, 1990

“…God…sends you messages through…nature …”


Why does God send us messages through nature? Our Lady tells us why. Because
 

March 25, 1990

“…God wants to save you…”


So to save us, Our Lady said, God, therefore:
 

March 25, 1990

“…sends you messages through men, nature, and so many things…”


In regards to the lightning bolt, can it be said or discounted that it was not that big of a deal? Add to the fact that a second circumstance in the instance was that it was caught perfectly on camera. Was this a double coincidence? Add yet, thirdly, that it occurred after an announcement of the Pope’s resignation and the ensuing of the changing of the guard to a new Pontiff. What does this mean? Three improbable coinciding events lined up together. Is the Church about to undergo a great trial? It was John Paul II who said at the October 8, 2000 Act of Entrustment to Mary Most Holy:
 

“…Mankind now has instruments of unprecedented power: we can turn this world into a garden, or reduce it to a pile of rubble. We have devised the astounding capacity to intervene in the very wellsprings of life: man can use this power for good, within the bounds of the moral law, or he can succumb to the shortsighted pride of a science which accepts no limits, but tramples on the respect due to every man. Today as never before in the past, mankind stands at a crossroads...”


Indeed we are at a crossroad. Which way will we turn? We have two directions simultaneously pulling at us in our heart. And now, at the crossroad, we must decide for one or the other. To remain within our being two opposing ways is to be in contradiction. We must separate from one or the other – from evil or good. No longer can we remain in both places. John Paul II said of this contradiction:
 

“…We are then men of an extraordinary time, exhilarating yet full of contradictions…”


Indeed, we are filled with contradictions. Our hearts have both evil and good in them, and we are spending all our energies struggling in battle, feeding both together. It is a contradiction that Our Lady just spoke of and that John Paul II spoke of on October 8, 2000 A.D.


Our Lady said February 25, 2013:

“…Sin is pulling you towards worldly things and I have come to lead you towards holiness and the things of God, but you are struggling and spending your energies in the battle with the good and the evil that are in you…”


America, especially, has not fully recognized this struggle and battle within us that is a contradiction and we, therefore, try to make the contradictions come into oneness, yet it only further divides our heart. Before he became Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla said to the American Bishops in 1976:
 

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation mankind has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. It is a trial which the Church must take up!”

“We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-too-distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives, and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is not longer possible to avert it…How many times has the renewal of the Church been brought about in blood! It will not be different this time.”1


Cardinal Wojtyla (future Pope John Paul II) stated through prayer one could alleviate this tribulation, but it cannot be avoided. That was in 1976.


Amazingly, Medjugorje visionary Mirjana said the same thing in 1982, “that one of the evils that threatened the world, the one contained in the seventh secret, has been averted thanks to prayer and fasting. That is why the Blessed Virgin continues to encourage prayer and fasting.”2


But Our Lady said in regard to the other secrets, that they cannot be avoided. It is too late. They can only be alleviated or mitigated through prayer and fasting just as John Paul II stated when he was a Cardinal: “It is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it.”3

With all these things in mind, no one can discount Pope Benedict’s resignation, the lightning bolt, and it being caught on camera, as mere coincidences. There is no other view for the Christian, that there is a message in these events. The question is, does the lightning bolt suggest that in the near future the Church, nay all Christianity will be struck?


Newsbusters publisher, Brent Bozell, stated on February 13, 2013 AD:
 

“Instead of reporting the historic news of Pope Benedict’s resignation, ABC World News, Diane Sawyer used the opportunity to bludgeon the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict with every left-wing grievance imaginable. It was disgusting and deeply offensive assault on the Church.”


Most of the media has no use of God except when they can use Him for the agendas they put forth. The newspaper, USA Today, in the February 26, 2013, issue stated of Pope Benedict:
 

“upon coming Pope…he took the name after St. Benedict who lived in a cave.”


USA Today
then added:

“As Pope Benedict prepares to end his papacy, his critics say the challenges he’ll leave to his successor are the result of him living in a cave of his own.”


The Italian media is publishing many assaults, distortions and lies as well.


During ABC’s report on the Pope’s resignation, while interviewing Cardinal Dolan, Diane Sawyer spontaneously tried to put him on the spot by holding up the picture of the Vatican being struck by lightning, asking the Cardinal what he thought of it.  Along with other statements, in what way did Sawyer “bludgeon the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict” by her stealth and ironical use of this picture. She desired to imply that it was God’s anger striking the Church, as evil, because its sins for being against the right to abortion, the right to contraception, the right to abominable marriages, etc., and the Church’s stand against humanist secularism of who suddenly believe in God when it can be conveniently used against the Church as Sawyer did.
 

Cardinal Dolan Being Interviewed by Diane Sawyer


While God does purify his Church for its sins and the Church membership must always be aware that we will all one day atone for our sins, we are not to allow leftist secularist to define our purification, such as what Diane Sawyer was doing in suggesting the Church’s stance on moral truths, and being against immorality is the cause of the lightning strike. God struck Israel because of its sins and He purified them. God didn’t change the moral truths to accommodate decadence, rather He purified Israel because of the failure to live moral truth, particularly as defined through the Ten Commandments. Diane Sawyer, strategically, no doubt, and calculatingly showed this picture because the media is a promoter of “secular humanist philosophy.” They make use of events, such as the lightning strike to package their reports and stories in such a way as to imply that the Church is wrong on issues that society see as “human rights” contradicting the truth of Christian principles that it is “human responsibilities” to live moral truth and by natural law. Therefore, they attack the Church for its teachings about sin, decadence, abnormal and abominable behaviors. Sawyer, by holding the picture of the lightning striking the Vatican, displayed her belief that the lightning bolt ‘was’ a sign, a sign that the Church is the villain. Interestingly enough, the lightning bolt is a millionth of a second from hitting and striking the Cross. Look and meditate on the picture. Meditate on the space between the bolt and the Cross.
 

Lightning Bolt over Saint Peter's Basilica

This is also a message that God sends, related to the statement of Christ in Scripture that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. As the Cross in the picture is not yet struck, the lightning is at its door. The reason we have Our Lady coming everyday for 31 years is to stop, at the final millionth of a second, the gates of hell opening into the Church. We can say in absolute truth, the gates of hell

Read more here: http://www.medjugorje.com/medjugorje-today/headlines/1438-our-lady-queen-of-p...

“Let us also pray for the new Pope, that the Lord will help illuminate him through the Holy Spirit, and that is a Pope who will guide us in this new time."

Marija: The Pope was powerless

By Jakob Marschner on Feb 28, 2013

Deciding to abdicate was a great gesture of Pope Benedict XVI. For he was powerless, and so he will likely give more to the world through prayer and silence, says visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti. After a recent visit to Ireland, she tells the Virgin Mary invites the seers to visit certain places.

medjugorje visionary seer veggente marija pavlovic lunetti pope benedict xvi 16 powerless gesture resign abdicate

Marija during an apparition, October 2011

Benedict XVI was powerless, and his decision to abdicate should be seen as a great gesture from a Pope who realized he can contribute better and more by other means than working, Medjugorje visionary Marija-Pavlovic-Lunetti told Radio Maria on February 25.

“For all of us, this is a big thing. On the other hand, for me it is a great gesture of the Pope, this gesture of withdrawing, because he was powerless. I think he will give us even more than with his work, through his prayer and silence, like he told us” Marija said.

father fr padre livio fanzaga radio maria pope papa benedict benedetto xvi 16 2012

Marija’s conversation partner, Radio Maria director Fr. Livio Fanzaga, meeting Pope Benedict XVI in 2012

“Let us also pray for the new Pope, that the Lord will help illuminate him through the Holy Spirit, and that is a Pope who will guide us in this new time. Today humanity has much need of people like Pope. Let us pray that he is brave and strong, a true man of God, truly. The Holy Spirit will do so” the seer continued.

Mary asks for visits

Asked to tell about her recent visit to Ireland, Marija started out by telling that the Virgin Mary asks the Medjugorje visionaries to visit the specific places they go.

“Our Lady invites us to go here and there, to give our testimony” Marija said.

medjugorje-visionary-marija-pavlovic-lunetti-royal-dublin-society-ireland-talk-apparition-february-21-2013

Marija talking in Dublin on February 21. Photo: Una Williams

“The Church in Ireland is going through a very difficult time. Ireland is close to recognize gay marriage, abortion – all things that are against man and against God’s law, satanic things.”

“Once Ireland was a Catholic country. Unfortunately, a few years ago, there were problems with pedophile priests that have done great damage in Ireland. Many people have distanced themselves from the Church. Many priests left the Church because of this problem” the seer recounted.

royal-dublin-society-ireland-medjugorje-visionary-seer-marija-pavlovic-lunetti-talk-public-apparition-february-21-2013-300x141

Royal Dublin Society where Marija spoke

“I think the Church in Ireland did not have the strength to react. So I hope, with my testimony, my trip to Ireland and especially with the presence of Our Lady, that Ireland gets a little more courage to go forward because without God we have no future, as Our Lady told us.”

Deliverance from evil takes prayer

Marija was on the phone to Radio Maria to transmit the message the Virgin Mary had given her breiefly before, and Radio Maria director Fr. Livio specifically asked her how she understood the message sentence “you are struggling and spending your energies in the battle with the good and the evil that are in you”?

royal-dublin-society-ireland-medjugorje-visionary-seer-marija-pavlovic-lunetti-talk-public-apparition-february-21-2013-300x141

The Virgin Mary of Medjugorje on a statue that was common in the early days of the apparitions

“I think the Madonna meant that we often think of doing good, but in reality we are doing evil. That often the devil comes in a disguise of good, instead of evil. We are in the time of Lent, and we are invited to penance, fasting and prayer” Marija answered.

“I remember an event from many years ago. A possessed lady arrived during the prayer of the Rosary before the apparition. At one point (youngest visionary) Jakov began sprinkling holy water on himself” she continued.

“We started laughing and asked him: “What is happening?”. Jakov told us: “Some devil could also have come inside of me, because I have had many temptations not to pray.” He prayed to be delivered.”

“She turned her back on the side where Our Lady appeared. We prayed for her deliverance. We must pray for the Lord to deliver us from all that is not of God, that is not ours, that is of the devil” Marija told Radio Maria.

Gabriel Paulino transcribed and translated from Italian

Attend an apparition, travel with Medjugorje Today

 

 

Spirit Daily is circulating this article

Papal Novena Invitation for all lay apostles

Media_httpsd1yoaun8sy_szlof
Dear lay apostles
Below are some of the final words from our Holy Father. We wish him every blessing. Let us unite in prayer with Catholics around the world asking The Lord to bless and protect our cardinals in the upcoming election.
With sadness we say farewell to our beloved Holy Father but with great joy we will greet his successor.
God bless,
Fr. Darragh
"Dear brothers and sisters, I feel that this Word of God is particularly directed at me, at this point in my life. The Lord is calling me to "climb the mountain", to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church, indeed, if God is asking me to do this it is so that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better suited to my age and my strength."
-Pope Benedict XVI, February 24th, 2013

Worldwide Novena Opportunity for the Election of the Next Holy Father
(Written by Dr. Mark Miravalle)
As the conclave for the next Holy Father soon approaches, it is the joyful responsibility of every Catholic to pray for the election process, to ensure the choice of the best possible successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
We must be on guard against all complacency which concludes, "The Holy Spirit elects the pope. I don't need to pray for the conclave."
When Pope Benedict was asked, "Does the Holy Spirit elect the next pope?" He responded:
I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the pope. ... I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit's role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote.
The Pope's response underscores the imperative for the Catholic faithful to pray fervently with committed hearts to the Holy Spirit, that the conclave of cardinals elect the candidate most pleasing to God to become the next Vicar of Christ on earth. We, the faithful, must enter this historical papal election process by praying to the Holy Spirit that He will descend upon the conclave for the choice most pleasing to Jesus and most beneficial for the Church and for the world today.
Beginning March 1, 2013, the first day when the Chair of Peter will be vacant, I encourage you to join in this Worldwide Novena for the Election of the Next Holy Father. Please join Catholic brothers and sisters the world over in daily praying the Novena Prayer below (or any other prayer to the Holy Spirit that you may prefer) that the Holy Spirit may truly inspire the hearts of the cardinals of the conclave to choose the man that Jesus wants to guide the Church at this precise moment of human history. This Conclave Novena will end on the day the Church and the world hears the words, "Habemus Papam!" ("We have a Pope!").
Conclave Novena Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, send down your Spirit over the conclave. Let the Holy Spirit inspire the hearts of the cardinals, that they may choose the man most pleasing to You, as Successor of Peter and Your Vicar on Earth. May Mary, Your Mother and Mother of the Church, be our Advocate. Amen.
Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology
Franciscan University of Steubenville

BENEDICT XVI: TO WORK FOR THE GOOD OF THE CHURCH AND OF HUMANITY

 Benedict XVI arrives to Castel Gandolfo, where he will retire temporarily.

Benedict XVI arrives to Castel Gandolfo, where he will retire temporarily
http://en.romereports.com In his last hours as Pope, Benedict XVI arrived to the Italian province of Castel Gandolfo. The Pope was greeted by local authorities who welcomed him to his temporary home.

BENEDICT XVI: TO WORK FOR THE GOOD OF THE CHURCH AND OF HUMANITY

Vatican City, 28 February 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon, shortly after 5:00pm, Benedict XVI left the Vatican for the last time as Supreme Pontiff. A few moments earlier, in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State of His Holiness, and other members of that dicastery bid him farewell. In full military regalia, the Swiss Guard troops paid him homage. Also present were Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of Rome, and Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City. Many of the workers of the Vatican City State, with their families, were also in attendance and greeted the Pope with warm applause.

Before leaving the Vatican, Benedict XVI issued his last tweet: “Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.”

Shortly afterwards the Holy Father, accompanied by his private secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household, took a car to the Vatican heliport where the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, greeted him and he boarded the helicopter that carried him to Castel Gandolfo. As the helicopter lifted off, the bells of St. Peter's Basilica and the churches of Roma began ringing.

The Pope's helicopter flew over the city of Rome, passing by the Colosseum and St. John Lateran Basilica, and landed at the Castel Gandolfo heliport just after 5:20pm. Awaiting the Holy Father were Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, respectively president and secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State along with Saverio Petrillo, director of the Pontifical Villas, Bishop Marcello Semeraro of the Diocese of Albano, and civil and religious authorities of the area. The Pope was then taken by car to the Castel Gandolfo Apostolic Palace, where he was greeted by hundreds of people while the bells of Castel Gandolfo's parishes rang out.

Shortly afterwards, Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony of the Apostolic Palace and said to the many faithful who were waiting to thank him for his pontificate: “Thank you. Thank you all. Dear friends, I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your well wishes, which do me such good. Thank you for your friendship and your affection. You know that this day is different for me than the preceding ones. I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, or I will be until 8:00 this evening and then no longer. I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth. But I would still—with my heart, with my love, with my prayers, with my reflection, and with all my inner strength—like to work for the common good and the Good of the Church and of humanity. I feel very supported by your kindness. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing. Blessed be God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Good night! Thank you all!”

Benedict XVI's pontificate concludes at 8:00pm this evening (Rome time), at which time the period of the Sede Vacante begins. The Swiss Guards will no longer be in charge of his safekeeping—which detail will then be undertaken by the Vatican Gendarmerie—and will return to the Vatican to offer their service to the College of Cardinals. During this period the twitter account @Pontifex will be deactivated. Once elected, the new Pope may, if he so desires, take over its use. Benedict XVI's Fisherman's Ring and the seal of his pontificate will also be destroyed at that time and the papal apartments in the Vatican Palace will be sealed.





Wednesday, February 27, 2013

[ video ] Reflecting on Pope Benedict's Resignation


Pope Benedict Resigns.

Pope Benedict Resigns
Reflection for 2/28/13

www.apostleshipofprayer.org

Photos by skooksie, Catholic Church (England and Wales), news.va Vatican Today


Mary TV Daily Reflection 2/28/2013

St. Peter's Square
(c)Mary TV 2012
St. Peter's square

          

J.M.J.      

February 28, 2013

 

Dear Family of Mary!

 

In January, Our Lady gave us this simple message:

 

"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. May your prayer be as strong as a living stone, until with your lives you become witnesses. Witness the beauty of your faith. I am with you and intercede before my Son for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call." (01/25/13)
 

She wanted us to know that she has been training us to be "living stones" for the Church. On this most important day, the day that Pope Benedict XVI will renounce the Papacy and vacate the Chair of Peter, she is counting on us to be living stones of constant prayer and faith for Holy Mother Church. Let's do our job, and pray, pray, pray!

 

Here is a prayer composed for this time by the Knights of Columbus in the USA:

 

"O Lord Jesus Christ , Supreme Pastor of Your Church,
we thank you for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI
and the selfless care with which he has led us
as Successor of Peter, and Your Vicar on earth.

 

Good Shepherd, who founded Your Church
on the rock of Peter's faith
and have never left Your flock untended,
look with love upon us now,
and sustain Your Church in faith, hope, and charity.

 

Grant, Lord Jesus, in Your boundless love for us,
a new Pope for Your Church
who will please You by his holiness
and lead us faithfully to You,
who are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Amen."

 

The prayer, written by Knights of Columbus Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.

http://www.kofc.org/en/news/releases/detail/prayer_campaign.html

 

God be with us all!

Cathy Nolan

© Mary TV 2013

Logo 

 

PS.  Today (February 28) at 2:00 pm EST, Denis and Cathy will pray the Rosary - live - at www.marytv.tv  in solidarity with Pope Benedict XVI and the entire Church as he leaves the Vatican.  Please join us in honoring Pope Benedict and supporting him in prayer at that time!

From Mark Mallett: Possible… or Not?

Media_httpwwwmarkmall_evemc

IN light of recent historic events in the papacy, and this, the last working day of Benedict XVI, two current prophecies in particular are gaining traction among believers regarding the next pope. I am asked about them constantly in person as well as by email. So, I am compelled to finally give a timely response.

The problem is that the following prophecies are diametrically opposed to one another. One or both of them, therefore, cannot be true….

DISCERNMENT

First of all, the question of authenticity of a seer ultimately belongs to the competent authority in the particular diocese in which the alleged seer belongs. That is not my place. However, believers can and should discern the orthodoxy of certain private revelations that come to them:

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil. (1 Thess 5:19-22)

But as Catholics, the testing of prophecy is never an isolated subjective exercise, but is done with and through the Magisterium—the teachings of the Church—because they contain the definitive Revelation we call the “deposit of faith.” Jesus said,

My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

We know His voice, not only interiorly through a devoted prayer life, but also through the ones He said would be His voice: the twelve Apostles and their successors who are charged with passing along Sacred Tradition. To them He said:

Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. (Luke 10:16)

With that in mind, let’s examine the following prophecies…

In every age the Church has received the charism of prophecy, which must be scrutinized but not scorned. —Cardinal Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), Message of Fatima, Theological Commentary, www.vatican.va

Continue reading here: http://www.markmallett.com/blog/2013/02/entering-perilous-times/#more-10062

Media_httpwwwmarkmall_dchhf

From Spiritdaily.com: PETRUS ROMANUS: AS CHURCH FACES 'ORDEAL,' MAY IT ONE DAY SOON BE BROUGHT BACK TO SIMPLER ROOTS?

Media_httpspiritdaily_wqift

It was only several weeks ago that an alleged seer said the Church would encounter a "great ordeal."

Is this -- the resignation of Benedict XVI, followed immediately by explosive new scandal crises -- what he was alluding to?

When people see lightning hit St. Peter's Basilica just hours after the resignation (twice, in a fashion even meteorologists said was strange) and still think nothing of it, one must wonder if they perceive anything as supernatural.

How secular we have become! It's a root of an ordeal indeed.

- See more at: http://spiritdaily.com/vaticanphilosophy.htm#sthash.bSAM9LdE.dpuf

[ video ] Fr. Kubicki reflects on Pope Benedict's mission intention for March 2013.


 Clergy.

Clergy
Fr. Kubicki reflects on Pope Benedict's mission intention for March 2013.

Photos by Catholic Church (England and Wales), Emilio Labrador, Cova de Iria, Luigi Chiesa, Carolus, LSandrade, Danny McL, Amio James Ascension, IC Monrovia RCIA, Jim Capaldi, prayitno, Martin Beek (Lawrence OP), Conanil, Carolyn Davis, Frederick Manligas Nacino, Athanasius, Youth Ministry Office (stlyouth), hazeline Monterey, Bread for the World, American Life League


Mary TV: Denis' update -February 27, 2013

 

 

Logo

 

 

 

 

"My eyes and my heart will be here,  

even when I will no longer appear." 

 

President:  Denis Nolan 

P.O. Box 899

Notre Dame, IN  46556

 574-288-3069

 www.marytv.tv 

 Mary TV is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization

 

   

 

Pope Benedict XVI 

Our prayers are with you, Pope Benedict XVI!!  

 

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2:00 PM (EST) SPECIAL ON LINE ROSARY

 

Many Catholics are gathering in their parishes this Thursday, February 28th at 2:00pm (EST), the hour the Papacy becomes vacant, to pray for the Church and for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

 

For those unable to join in their parishes, Cathy and I will be praying a special on line rosary then (2:00pm, EST, Thursday, February 28th) at www.marytv.tv. Consider telling anyone you know who might like to join us. All are most welcome!

 

God bless you!

 

Denis

 

PS. Milona von Habsburg's aunt, Olga, Duquesa de Cadaval, was the personal secretary to Sr. Lucia of Fatima. Sr. Lucia, the visionary of Fatima firmly believed Our Lady is appearing in Medjugorje and was praying for the visionaries of Medjugorje. Milona gives her testimony in Fruit of Medjugorje episode #56 at www.marytv.tv.

 

PPS. In response to Our Lady's call Mary TV is airing a new daily program this Lent: "Stories from Denis". She asks us to become witnesses (January 25, 2013) and has called: "Dear children! I call you, for this time to be for all of you, a time of witnessing. You, who live in the love of God and have experienced His gifts, witness them with your words and life that they may be for the joy and encouragement to others in faith. I am with you and incessantly intercede before God for all of you that your faith may always be alive and joyful, and in the love of God. Thank you for having responded to my call," (September 25, 2011). Join us at <www.marytv.tv> live at 12:00 Noon every day during Lent (available later in "Stories from Denis" archive).

 


 

From Opus Bono Sacerdotii: Broken Link!


 

Opus Bono Sacerdotii

Work for the Good of the Priesthood

 

Deacon 

 

In our last email the link to our beautiful Opus Bono Pope Benedict XVI commemorative mug was not working properly.

 

Please click here: http://www.cafepress.com/opusbono

 

Also, please visit the store for Opus Bono Icon apparel and other gifts as well. We would appreciate you sharing this with your family and friends.

 

It will help us, help more priests in need!

 

I apologize for any inconvenience.

 

Thank you,

 

Joe

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.cafepress.com/opusbono

www.opusbono.org

www.facebook.com/opusbono

www.twitter.com/opusbono

www.youtube.com/user/opusbono

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opus Bono Sacerdotii

P.O. Box 663, Oxford, MI 48371-0663   P 313.937.6305 


Pope Benedict XVI: The Sacrifices of a Father’s Love BY FR. GORDON J. MACRAE

Pope Benedict XVI leaves the Chair of Peter amid debate about what his decision means for the Church. Above all else, it is an act of fatherly love and sacrifice.

We are all prisoners of our own perception. We come to just about every concern and deliberation from the perspective of our own unique limits, circumstances, and points of view. The more fair and just among us practice varying degrees of empathy which is, in part at least, the ability to place ourselves in the shoes of another.

One truth became crystal clear to me on February 11. No matter how well honed our skills for empathy might be, none of us can ever adequately imagine ourselves in one pair of shoes – the Shoes of the Fisherman.

It was that very title that helped plant and cultivate my early thoughts of priesthood when I was 15 years old in 1968 – the same year Msgr. Charles Pope once wrote of in “1968 – The Year the Church Drank from the Poison of this World.” My friend, Father Louis Antonelli took me to see The Shoes of the Fisherman, the film starring Anthony Quinn as Pope Kyril I. It was scripted from the great novel of the same title by Morris West. In the end, the fictional Pope Kyril – who as a priest spent 20 years in a Soviet prison – sacrificed his papacy to avert nuclear war looming in the Communist stranglehold on the Soviet Union and China. The long, ponderous film deeply moved me at age 15 as Pope Kyril’s acts of love and sacrifice mollified the world at the expense of the Church. I left that film resolved to pray for the Pope, who in my sudden awareness became the most important man on Earth, and the most targeted man for the world’s wolves and the powers of evil.

Priesthood did not take me to where I had hoped back then to go. Like Kyril himself, it took me to prison. So it was from the perspective of my confinement in a prison cell that I learned the heartbreaking news on Monday morning, February 11, that our beloved Pope Benedict XVI will resign the Chair of Saint Peter effective February 28. Like so many of you, I found that news to be deeply disappointing – even devastating. That day felt as though someone had cast a pall over the entire Church.

The news footage soon to follow the Holy Father’s bombshell – the scene of a bolt of lightning striking the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica – did nothing to ease the sense of oppression that day wrought. Like so many of you, I was filled with dread that the wolves had won – the very wolves the Holy Father referred to in his first homily as Pope in April 2005: “Pray for me that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”

After eight years of his pontificate, I could not imagine this Pope fleeing from anything. In the ensuing weeks, I have slowly come to see his decision not only as agonizingly painful in its making – for us, but most especially for him – but also as a courageous act of sacrifice motivated by love for the Church and the 1.2 billion souls who come to Christ through Her.

A FRATERNAL CORRECTION

By the end of the day on February 11, I asked a friend to post a comment from me on TSW’s Facebook page. My comment focused only on the Holy Father’s brief statement and avoided much of the media spin launched within minutes of it – most of which I was unaware of anyway, and could only imagine. Pope Benedict’s own words left little room for spin, and they are worth hearing again as he abdicates:

“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 many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to steer the boat 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.”

My immediate reaction to these words was one of great sorrow. I believed that Pope Benedict, who will soon turn 86 years of age, was convinced by those around him not to allow age and infirmity to become the media’s face of the Church. I believed such advice to have been rooted in the last years of Pope John Paul’s pontificate as his obvious infirmity became its own news event.

And so my brief comment on February 11, though well intentioned, assumed that the Holy Father was simply convinced, as he himself stated, that his “strengths and advanced age are no longer suited to the Petrine ministry” – especially so in a world in which every papal tremble, stumble, and foible is caught on camera for instantaneous global news.

I thought the Holy Father had agonized over this and concluded simply, and understandably, that age and infirmity taking center stage in the future years of his papacy were neither in his best interest nor that of the Church. I thought wrongly. There was much more to this decision, and within hours of my own brief reaction, I was told in no uncertain terms that I was wrong, and that I had missed half of the story.

That fraternal correction came from my friend, Father George David Byers writing at Holy Souls Hermitage, and I was, and am, most grateful for it. There was absolutely nothing in this decision that the Holy Father considered to be in his own best interest. Like so many of the loving fathers I know, his own best interest never entered the equation at all. On the morning after the Pope’s announcement, The Wall Street Journal published a superb and influential commentary by Catholic writer George Weigel that helped to give me some perspective on this development. “Catholics Need a Pope for the ‘New Evangelization ” (February 13, 2013) was a service to the Church calling upon us to look forward to consider the urgent challenges to be faced by the successor of Pope Benedict. George Weigel pointed out something that the Holy Father himself was deeply aware of as “we widen the historical lens through which we view this papal transition.” Pope Benedict XVI will be the last pope to have participated in the Second Vatican Council.

By ending his papacy, he is ending an ecclesiastical era. The question George Weigel asks us to ponder is not “What wolves brought this about?” but rather “To what future has Pope Benedict led Catholicism?” I believe the answer to that question is the urgent issue of the coming conclave, and I believe the Holy Father is convinced of the necessary timing of this as the Church summons forth a Pope for the New Evangelization.

AND NOT WITHOUT PRECEDENT

In the Western world, and especially in the Americas, it’s difficult for some to factor the Catholic Church as an ancient structure, the sole institution in human history to have thrived – to have even survived – for 2,000 years. In “The Beatification of Pope John Paul II,” I wrote of a History Channel presentation on the papacy. Hopefully, we may see it again before the coming conclave.

With reverence and historical accuracy, the cameras took us from the tomb of Saint Peter to the tomb of Blessed John Paul II. Between them, two millennia had past – 2,000 years of war, scandal, all manner of human debacles, and countless assaults on the Church and Holy See. And yet at the tomb of Blessed John Paul II the Church stood. The gates of hell had not prevailed against Her – and not for lack of trying.

That trial continues. A pope’s resignation is rare, but not unheard of. Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Saint Louis University history professor Thomas F. Madden unveiled some of this history in “The Pope Joins a Fine but Rarely Seen Tradition” (Feb. 15, 2013). For the first 1,200 years in the life of the Church, Professor Madden explained, it was assumed that a pope could not resign except under extreme conditions such as being thrown into prison – a fate that befell three popes in the first millennium.

The last resignation of a pope was six centuries ago in the year 1415. Eight decades before Columbus sailed to the New World – 360 years before the United States even existed – Pope Gregory XII resigned the papacy to end the Great Schism. In so doing he was praised throughout Europe for placing the interests of the Church above his own interests and ambition.

But the real precedent was set in 1294 when Pope Celestine V, now Saint Celestine, resigned for reasons very similar to those now put forward by Pope Benedict. A conclave had been unable to arrive at a consensus for two years when Pietro del Murone was elected to resolve it. Already in his 80s when he became Pope Celestine V, he quietly established in canon law a tenet allowing for the resignation of a pope, and then applied it to himself with the support of the College of Cardinals.

THE PRAYER TO SAINT MICHAEL

The Church canonized Saint Celestine in 1313. In the 2010 book, Light of the World (Ignatius Press), based on Peter Seewald’s extensive interviews with Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father cited the precedent set by Saint Celestine, and even hinted – then at age 84 – that if ever a pope’s reserves of strength no longer served the Church, that precedent could be repeated.

But there is still the matter of the wolves circling from both without and within. They have always been here. George Weigel pointed out that the Second Vatican Council’s deep reforms in the Catholic Church actually began in the previous century in 1878. According to Mr. Weigel,

“Pope Leo XIII made the historic decision to quietly bury the rejectionist stand his predecessors had adopted toward cultural and political modernity.” George Weigel ended his article with a reflection about the current state of disunity in the Roman Curia, calling upon the coming conclave to elect a pope who will address the Curia’s “disastrous condition . . . so that the Vatican bureaucracy becomes an instrument of the New Evangelization, not an impediment to it.”

Pope Benedict XVI cited a similar concern in his Ash Wednesday homily from the pulpit of Saint Peter’s Basilica: “The face of the Church is at times disfigured by the sins against the unity of the Church and the divisions of the ecclesia1 body.” It’s of interest that in 1888, Pope Leo XIII also cited this while composing his famous Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, only a small part of which has become the common prayer we know. In its original form, Pope Leo wrote:

“In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the pastor is struck, the sheep may be scattered.”

Pope Benedict XVI has never had to earn our deference, but earn it he did, many times over, as our Holy Father in a time of great trial for the Church. We owe him the benefit of our fidelity, unity, and prayers, and I know he has those. By abdicating at this time, and by calling the Church’s focus to what comes next at this moment in history, Pope Benedict is engaging in act of love and sacrifice for the Church.

What remains heartbreaking is that so many of us have come not only to reverence and respect this Pope for his gifted mind and great personal holiness. We have come to love him. As our Holy Father leaves the Chair of Saint Peter this week, please spend a few moments with my post, “Faith Trumps Relativism: Pope Benedict XVI at World Youth Day” for a snapshot of just how deeply felt that love has been during this papacy in trying times.

Even in life, this Holy Father’s long-serving predecessor was given another title in his last years. As I described in “The Beatification of Pope John Paul II,” my friend, the late Father Richard John Neuhaus and others deservedly dubbed him “John Paul the Great,” and it stuck.

Pope Benedict XVI also stands to have a new name. Springing from the hearts of millions, no matter what role he plays or what the Church comes to call him, this Holy Father will forever be for us, “Benedict the Beloved.”

 

-->

Media_httpwwwthesesto_ycral

Media_httpwwwthesesto_xfafb

Media_httpwwwthesesto_rfyyi

vote here: http://catholicism.about.com/library/bl-readers-choice-awards-best-catholic-b...

From Vatican Radio: Pope Benedict's Final General Audience (Text)

Home > Audiences & Angelus >  2013-02-27 11:57:05
A+

A-

print this page




Pope: final General Audience (full text)



(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI held the final General Audience of his pontificate on Wednesday in St Peter's Square. Below, please find Vatican Radio's English translation of the Holy Father's remarks.

*********************************

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

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

Like the Apostle Paul in the biblical text that we have heard, I feel in my heart the paramount duty to thank God, who guides the Church and makes her grow: who sows His Word and thus nourishes the faith in His people. At this moment my spirit reaches out to embrace the whole Church throughout the world, and I thank God for the “news” that in these years of Petrine ministry I have been able to receive regarding the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity that circulates in the body of the Church – charity that makes the Church to live in love – and of the hope that opens for us the way towards the fullness of life, and directs us towards the heavenly homeland.

I feel I [ought to] carry everyone in prayer, in a present that is God’s, where I recall every meeting, every voyage, every pastoral visit. I gather everyone and every thing in prayerful recollection, in order to entrust them to the Lord: in order that we might have full knowledge of His will, with every wisdom and spiritual understanding, and in order that we might comport ourselves in a manner that is worthy of Him, of His, bearing fruit in every good work (cf. Col 1:9-10).

At this time, I have within myself a great trust [in God], because I know – all of us know – that the Gospel’s word of truth is the strength of the Church: it is her life. The Gospel purifies and renews: it bears fruit wherever the community of believers hears and welcomes the grace of God in truth and lives in charity. This is my faith, this is my joy.

When, almost eight years ago, on April 19th, [2005], I agreed to take on the Petrine ministry, I held steadfast in this certainty, which has always accompanied me. In that moment, as I have already stated several times, the words that resounded in my heart were: “Lord, what do you ask of me? It a great weight that You place on my shoulders, but, if You ask me, at your word I will throw out the nets, sure that you will guide me” – and the Lord really has guided me. He has been close to me: daily could I feel His presence. [These years] have been a stretch of the Church’s pilgrim way, which has seen moments joy and light, but also difficult moments. I have felt like St. Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of ​​Galilee: the Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze, days in which the catch has been abundant; [then] there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us, as in the whole history of the Church it has ever been - and the Lord seemed to sleep. Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in the barque, that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but His - and He shall not let her sink. It is He, who steers her: to be sure, he does so also through men of His choosing, for He desired that it be so. This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. It is for this reason, that today my heart is filled with gratitude to God, for never did He leave me or the Church without His consolation, His light, His love.

We are in the Year of Faith, which I desired in order to strengthen our own faith in God in a context that seems to push faith more and more toward the margins of life. I would like to invite everyone to renew firm trust in the Lord. I would like that we all, entrust ourselves as children to the arms of God, and rest assured that those arms support us and us to walk every day, even in times of struggle. I would like everyone to feel loved by the God who gave His Son for us and showed us His boundless love. I want everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer to be recited daily in the morning says, “I adore you, my God, I love you with all my heart. I thank You for having created me, for having made me a Christian.” Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith: it is the most precious good, that no one can take from us! Let us thank God for this every day, with prayer and with a coherent Christian life. God loves us, but He also expects that we love Him!

At this time, however, it is not only God, whom I desire to thank. A Pope is not alone in guiding St. Peter’s barque, even if it is his first responsibility – and I have not ever felt myself alone in bearing either the joys or the weight of the Petrine ministry. The Lord has placed next to me many people, who, with generosity and love for God and the Church, have helped me and been close to me. First of all you, dear Brother Cardinals: your wisdom, your counsels, your friendship, were all 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 Roman Curia, as well as all those who, in various areas, give their service to the Holy See: the many faces which never emerge, but remain in the background, in silence, in their daily commitment, with a spirit of faith and humility. They have been for me a sure and reliable support. A special thought [goes] to the Church of Rome, my diocese! I can not forget the Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, the consecrated persons and the entire People of God: in pastoral visits, in public encounters, at Audiences, in traveling, I have always received great care and deep affection; I also loved each and every one, without exception, with that pastoral charity which is the heart of every shepherd, especially the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. Every day I carried each of you in my prayers, with the father's heart.

I wish my greetings and my thanks to reach everyone: the heart of a Pope expands to [embrace] the whole world. I would like to express my gratitude to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, which makes present the great family of nations. Here I also think of all those who work for good communication, whom I thank for their important service.

At this point I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all the many people throughout the whole world, who, in recent weeks have sent me moving tokens of concern, friendship and prayer. Yes, the Pope is never alone: now I experience this [truth] again in a way so great as to touch my very heart. The Pope belongs to everyone, and so many people feel very close to him. It’s true that I receive letters from the world's greatest figures - from the Heads of State, religious leaders, representatives of the world of culture and so on. I also receive many letters from ordinary people who write to me simply from their heart and let me feel their affection, which is born of our being together in Christ Jesus, in the Church. These people do not write me as one might write, for example, to a prince or a great figure one does not know. They write as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, with the sense of very affectionate family ties. Here, one can touch what the Church is – not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian purposes, but a living body, a community of brothers and sisters in the Body of Jesus Christ, who unites us all. To experience the Church in this way and almost be able to touch with one’s hands the power of His truth and His love, is a source of joy, in a time in which many speak of its decline.

In recent months, I felt that my strength had decreased, and I asked God with insistence 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 its novelty, but with a deep peace of mind. Loving the Church also means having the courage to make difficult, trying choices, having ever before oneself the good of the Church and not one’s own.

Here allow me to return once again to April 19, 2005. The gravity of the decision was precisely in the fact that from that moment on I was committed always and forever by the Lord. Always – he, who assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and totally to everyone, to the whole Church. His life is, so to speak, totally deprived of the private sphere. I have felt, and I feel even in this very moment, that one receives one’s life precisely when he offers it as a gift. I said before that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and are fond of him, that the Pope has truly brothers and sisters, sons and daughters all over the world, and that he feels safe in the embrace of their communion, because he no longer belongs to himself, but he belongs to all and all are truly his own.

The “always” is also a “forever” - there is no returning to private life. My decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry, does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences and so on. I do not abandon the cross, but remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord. I no longer wield the power of the office for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, within St. Peter’s bounds. St. Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, shall be a great example in this for me. He showed us the way to a life which, active or passive, belongs wholly to the work of God.

I thank each and every one of you for the respect and understanding with which you have welcomed this important decision. I continue to accompany the Church on her way through prayer and reflection, with the dedication to the Lord and to His Bride, which I have hitherto tried to live daily and that I would live forever. I ask you to remember me before God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals, who are called to so important a task, and for the new Successor of Peter, that the Lord might accompany him with the light and the power of His Spirit.

Let us invoke the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, that she might accompany each of us and the whole ecclesial community: to her we entrust ourselves, with deep trust.

Dear friends! God guides His Church, maintains her always, and especially in difficult times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the way of the Church and the world. In our heart, in the heart of each of you, let there be always the joyous certainty that the Lord is near, that He does not abandon us, that He is near to us and that He surrounds us with His love. Thank you!