Pope Benedict XVI Resigns

By Ernest Ohlhoff, director, NRLC Department of Outreach

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI, the pro-life leader of the more than one billion member Roman Catholic Church, offered his resignation  effective February 28. His decision to step down marks the first time since 1415 that a Pope has resigned.

In his statement Pope Benedict XVI said

“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.”

Early reaction to the Pope’s resignation was reported by Eternal World Television Network (EWTN):

“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,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “His resignation is but another sign of his great care for the Church.” …

”Pope Benedict often cited the significance of eternal truths and he warned of a dictatorship of relativism,” he said. “Some values, such as human life, stand out above all others, he taught again and again. It is a message for eternity.”

Pope Benedict traveled to many parts or the world including the Middle East, Africa, and the United States.  He had a special love for meetings with young people and spoke at youth rallies in Australia, Germany and Spain.

He is also known for reaching out to all people and all nations encouraging peace and respect for human life.

Pope Benedict  spoke frequently about the need to protect innocent human life and restore protection to all those threatened by practices such as abortion, infanticide, embryonic stem cell research, and physician assisted suicide.  He will be missed by many pro-lifers, and not only Catholics.