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Pope’s Resignation ‘shocking, unexpected’ – Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria

Pope’s Resignation ‘shocking, unexpected’ – Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria

The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria,CSN  has confirmed reports of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, the CSN Secretary General in statement  however described the resignation of the pope “as shocking, unexpected, as you would expect, but not totally strange.”

Rev Madu stated the fact that “In announcing his resignation he(the pope ) had 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 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 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’. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI is resigning for reasons of old age and failing strength, and not for any particular kind of terminal illness, moral or legal guilt or political pressure for that matter. “

Read the full text of CSN’s Statement below:

THE RESIGNATION OF THE HOLY FATHER POPE BENEDICT XVI

Statement of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria

You have heard news that the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his desire to resign from the office of the Supreme Pontiff, effective from 20.00 hours on the last day of February 2013. Having spoken to the proper offices concerned with matters of such information, we confirm that it is true.  It came to all of us as shocking, unexpected, as you would expect, but not totally strange.

In announcing his resignation he had 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 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 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”. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI is resigning for reasons of old age and failing strength, and not for any particular kind of terminal illness, moral or legal guilt or political pressure for that matter.

You realize that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Bishop of Rome by his Venerable Brother Cardinal Electors at the Conclave in Rome on the 16th of April, 2005 and he took the name Pope Benedict XVI at the age of 78.  Before then he had worked in the Vatican Curia as the head of the strategic and tasking Congregation of Doctrine of Faith for 25 years during the Pontificate of his predecessor, Blessed Pope John Paul II. He is a man who has spent many tortuous years in the administration of the Church at very demanding levels. Therefore it is not strange that he should “wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer”.

We said that it is not strange because following the tenets of the laws and practices of the Catholic Church, Popes had resigned in the past. Pope Celestine V who died in 1296, had resigned two years earlier in 1294 and Pope Gregory XII also resigned in 1415.  The current code of canon law promulgated in 1983 (canon 332 para. 2), also makes allowance for the resignation by the Roman Pontiff from the exercise of the Petrine ministry. That privilege is what the Holy Father has appropriated today. The law requires that for the resignation of the Pontiff to be valid, it has to be FREELY MADE and PROPERLY MANIFESTED but it does not require the acceptance of anybody or group to be effective. That he has manifested in his statement which already available in all the social networks and from which I have also generously quoted.

Therefore, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, elected 16th and installed 19th April, 2005, has resigned from the office of the Pope, effective 20.00 hours 28th February, 2013. The Cardinal Electors will be invited to the Conclave in Rome at a later date in March to elect a successor. Please keep the Holy Father and the Church in your prayers during this period of transition.

Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu

Secretary General, CSN

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