At the outset, I'd like to give thanks, say farewell to and God bless Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus, for his faithful ministry and service and leadership to The Catholic Church. I wish him all the best as he spends the rest of his life in retirement and prayer.
As we've already heard, learned, Pope Benedict XVI, the Supreme Pontiff of The Catholic Church has resigned, after eight years of leading and managing the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. His last day of papacy was yesterday, 28 February 2013. He's now in retirement at Castel Gandolfo, per news reports.
From my readings and research, here's what we know about Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI...
Joseph Ratzinger, as he was first known prior to becoming Pope Benedict XVI, was born on April 16, 1927 in Germany. When he was 16, he was drafted into military service. In 1944, he fled the Nazi army. But he was captured in 1945 and briefly held in an Allied POW (Prisoners of War) camp. In June 1945, he was set free. Thereafter, he and his older brother entered a Catholic seminary.
In June 1951, he had his ordination the priesthood. Two years after, he received his Doctor of Theology. Following his graduation and becoming a professor in dogmatic theology, he taught in the universities in Germany for ten years. He also became vice president of the University of Regensburg.
In 1962, at the age of 35, Pope Emeritus Benedict became known as a theological expert for and represented the Archdiocese of Cologne at the Second Vatican Council in Rome. On May 28, 1977, he was ordained bishop and was selected Archbishop of Munich and Freising by Pope Paul VI who eventually appointed him a Cardinal in the Consistory of June 27, 1977.
In November 1981, the late Pope John Paul II, now Blessed John Paul, named him as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Other positions he held during John Paul II's papacy were the following: president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of the Pontifical International Theological Commission. On November 30, 2002, Cardinal Ratzinger became Dean of the College of Cardinals (from whom a prospective pope is chosen from among its eligible/qualified members).
When his predecessor, the late Supreme Pontiff John Paul II passed away in April 2005, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected as the 265th pope of the Roman Catholic Church on April 19, 2005, at the Papal Conclaves. He chose the name Benedict XVI.
On April 27, 2005, during his first General Audience in St. Peter's Square, newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI "wish to speak of why I chose the name Benedict. Firstly, I remember Pope Benedict XV, that courageous prophet of peace, who guided the Church through turbulent times of war. In his footsteps, I place my ministry in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples. Additionally, I recall Saint Benedict of Nursia, co-patron of Europe, whose life evokes the Christian roots of Europe. I ask him to help us all to hold firm to the centrality of Christ in our Christian life. may Christ always take first place in our thoughts and actions."
Since his papal election, Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI has written three encyclicals (Deus Caritas Est, Spe Salvi, and Caritas in Veritate), published over 30 books. He has canonized over 40 saints, named two doctors of the church, appointed 90 cardinals in five consistories. He has also traveled worldwide and consistently spoken about his desire for unity in The Catholic Church. Last year, he declared the date from October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013 as the Year of Faith, calling all the faithful to renew their faith, with the New Evangelization initiative of the Church.
In mid-February, this year, Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI announced his resignation effective February 28, 2013 due to his declining health and age.
My dear folks and friends, here's my final thoughts about the unexpected resignation of Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI: His humility is quite extraordinary. Stepping down from his post as the Supreme Pontiff or Holy Father of over 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide is a bold decision on his part. His honesty to admit that he could no longer function effectively as the leader of the Church is something we should emulate or learn from, especially if or when we know that our health is deteriorating and that there are leaders of the Church who are more capable now to lead or manage the Universal Church entrusted by our Lord Jesus Christ. On the other hand, as a scholar of Faith and Theology, Pope Emeritus has done what he's supposed to do: To inspire and enlighten us to serve and follow Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. He has shared his life story and spirituality, and education to the world with the hope that he can bring Jesus closer to each and every one of us, faithful members of the Church. He tried his best to be an instrument of peace and unity to the world that has undergone sweeping changes and reforms for the past decades.
There you go, my dear folks and friends, my kinda tribute to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. I wish him well in his retirement. May God bless him always!
This is all for now. Until next time around. Take care and have a wonderful weekend, everyone! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 01 March 2013