Thursday, 28 February 2013

THE SOLEMN DEPARTURE OF POPE BENEDICT XVI FROM THE VATICAN CITY

On 28th February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI put into action a thought provoking decision he made on 10th February 2013. This was the day he made public his decision to resign from the seat of Saint Peter.

It was around 16:55, hour of Rome that Pope Benedict XVI started baring farewell to all his close collaborators at the Vatican City. It was a solemn moment full of mixed emotion! On this historical evening, he made sure to shake hands with each and every member of his household, ranging from the workers to his straight collaborators in the Roman Curia. A moving moment that left some of them with tears, it was.

After saluting his collaborators, he then turned to board the car that was to take him to the heliport inside the Eternal City. It was also a special moment with an executive convoy led by the Italian Security Service attached the Holy Sea.

Meanwhile, before finally boarding the car, he turned to the camera and waved to an immense crowd gathered at Saint Peter’s Square to witness this particular and single event.  Among the thousands of people gathered at the square were many journalists from different Continents and different international media houses of different media types – written, audio and video media. After this brief salutation, he then boarded the car and the journey that was to bring to an end his papacy commenced. It took some few minutes to arrive at the heliport.  

The Last days of Pope Benedict XVI’s Pontificate: (III) The Last Angelus

Last Sunday, being 24th February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI led his last Angelus at the Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City. He started his normal weekly catechesis by acknowledging the affections with which he has been accompanied in these last days of his papacy. And afterwards, he explained the text of Luke on the transfiguration of the Lord in these words:

Dear brothers and sisters. During the service on the second Lent Sunday, the Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord is always presented. Luke, the evangelist, has highlighted the fact that Jesus transfigured while he prayed. His is a deep, profound experience of relationship with the Father during a sort of spiritual retreat that Jesus lives on a high mount accompanied by Peter, James and John, the three disciples who were always present during the moments of the divine manifestation of the Master. The Lord, who not long ago had proclaimed his death and resurrection, offers the disciples an anticipation of his glory.

After a proper analysis of the places of each individual present at the transfiguration scene he continued in these words:

The Last days of Pope Benedict XVI’s Pontificate: (II) The second to the last Angelus

Since the announcement of his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI has been using every opportunity he has to assure the world that his decision is a response to a mission God, seeing his age and health situation, has giving him.

In his Angelus of 17th February, he reminded Christians of the necessity of renewing themselves in the Spirit, turning with determination to God, renouncing pride and selfishness and to live in love. After analysing the temptation of Jesus, he concluded with this brief exaltation:

“Therefore let us not be afraid either of facing the battle against the spirit of evil: the important thing is to fight it with him, with Christ, the Conqueror. And to be with him let us turn to his Mother, Mary; let us call on her with filial trust in the hour of trial and she will make us feel the powerful presence of her divine Son, so that we can reject temptations with Christ as word and thus put God back at the centre of our life”.

The Last days of Pope Benedict XVI’s Pontificate: (I) The historical resignation announcement

Since Benedict XVI announced his resignation as Pope, many Catholics, non-Catholics, journalists and tourists have been trouping to the Eternal city to see this great man whose intellectual acumen -for the intellectuals, his faith - for the believers, his humility - for those in authority has just attained its apogee in these last days.

It took almost everybody by surprise, just like a thunder blast in cloudless sky, to use the expression of Cardinal Bagnasco. Some received it as a shock while others saw it as a sign of great humility, but in it all, the Pope has tried to clarify the matter by explaining to the world the real sense of his decision. From the first day, he made it clear that the decision was taken after a long moment of reflection. Here is his letter of resignation: