Pope Benedict XVI has announced he will step down on 28th Feb.

On Thursday 28th February in the Year of Faith Pope Benedict will step down as pope.  His announcement today has come as a shock, but I trust him implicitly and he has made it clear he has been discussing the situation with The Boss, who has been keeping His Church on the straight and narrow Way even through some  awful times (and awful popes). We are blessed these days that in my lifetime at least we have had such good, wise and holy popes.

His full declaration is here h/t Creative Minority Report:

Full text of Pope’s declaration

Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 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. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

BENEDICTUS PP XVI

He turns 86 on April 16th and with the massive workload he has had I can easily see how he has decided with the guidance of God, to step down.  He has worked hard over the last 8 years and he worked bloomin’hard before that.

He has come very close to bringing and end the schism with the East and I really hope and pray the next Holy Father will continue this vital work so that the Bride can breath with both lungs intact again.

So break out the Divine Office, rosaries and Divine Mercy chaplet – or whatever else you use and get praying.  The Conclave will meet in March (presumably after Easter).

SS Peter, Linus, ‘Cletus and Clement and all the other saintly popes ora pro nobis.

UPDATE

It has been reported that the Holy Father laid his pallium on the tomb of Pope St Celestine V. Dr Scott Hahn noted this. Pope Saint Celestine V was the last pope to step down from the office in 1294. 

I remember that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger went to pray at the tomb of St. Benedict (I read he is a third order Benedictine himself) and prayed very hard when it looked like he might be elected pope. 

Fr. Dwight Longenecker has noted that one of the great achievements of Pope Benedict has been setting up the Ordinariate for those who have come home from the Anglican/Episcopalian end of things.

You can read more from The Anchoress.

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