Benedict says farewells, and then steps down as pope
First to retire in 600 years
ROME—Uniformed police officers have now taken over the task of guarding the pope emeritus. When his papacy ended Thursday, Swiss Guards left their posts, closed the doors of Castel Gandolfo, and hung up their halberds.
The papacy of Benedict XVI is now officially over, ending a pontificate in retirement rather than death for the first time in nearly 600 years.
We now have an official English translation of what Benedict said in his last public appearance as pope, from the balcony of the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo:
I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your well wishes, which do me such good. Thank you for your friendship and your affection.
You know that this day is different for me than the preceding ones. I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, or I will be until 8 this evening and then no longer. I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth. But I would still … thank you … I would still—with my heart, with my love, with my prayers, with my reflection, and with all my inner strength—like to work for the common good and the good of the church and of humanity. I feel very supported by your kindness. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing.
Blessed be God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Good night! Thank you all!”
Benedict, who will be known as pope emeritus, is expected to stay at the Castel Gandolfo papal retreat until the Catholic Church’s cardinals elect his successor.
After the successor is chosen, Benedict is expected to live in a former gardener’s house at the Vatican to lead a life of prayer.
The cardinals’ conclave is expected to begin sometime in March.
What kind of influence will Benedict have over the choice of his successor? Not direct influence, CNN contributor the Rev. Edward Beck says, noting that Benedict will be in seclusion and the cardinals’ conclave is to be conducted in secret.
But perhaps he will have had some indirect influence just because he appointed 67 of the roughly 115 cardinals who will be making the selection.
“Many of them would be in the same stream of consciousness, the same theology, the same thought pattern as Benedict, at least theologically perhaps,” Beck said of the 67 cardinals that Benedict appointed during his eight years as pope.
Beck also wondered whether, because Benedict is still alive, the cardinal electors’ choices will be influenced by a desire to respect Benedict. That is to say, whether they’ll select someone aligned with Benedict theologically because they don’t want to disrespect the living ex-pontiff.
“It’s a question I would have, because we haven’t had this obviously in 600 years,” Beck said.
Hypocrisy season looks to be in full swing, but one expert says we shouldn’t let it get in the way of our own faith.
Between Weiner-Gate, John Edwards being indicted on charges he used campaign funds to cover up the affair that destroyed his political career and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich launching his presidential bid after admitting he cheated on his second wife, it seems as if there is no end to the breakout of hypocrisy that has infected the headlines recently.
Los Angeles resident Robert Jackson [not his real name] tells the story of a boarder who apparently never left the premises he was renting.
The problem was, he had died many years before.
Jackson’s in-laws bought the property in the early 1980s. It had originally been owned by the local Catholic Church and made into a home for nuns. His wife’s parents immediately turned the property into a boardinghouse and began taking in male boarders.
The Black churches of Los Angeles appear to be losing the struggle to stay vital, which could have grave consequences for an institution that cultivated one of the most important social movements in American history, according to a new report authored by Daniel E. Walker, a research associate with the USC Dornsife College’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, is outraged at the recent grand jury finding in Philadelphia that 37 Catholic priests in active duty have credible allegations of sexual abuse. The Philadelphia archdiocese suspended 21 of the 37 Roman Catholic priests who were named as child molestation suspects on March 8.
African Americans are a colorful people, who claim some of the most phenomenal talents, elaborate philosophies, and eccentric belief systems. One thing about Black religion and spirituality is that we know how to have us some church.
From the dancing and singing to the worshiping and preaching, when we get down, we get down. It would almost be appropriate to say that in church, temple, mass, mosque and whatever other service you can think of, we always seem to welcome in the spirit of the Higher Being, the ancestors, or respective spirits.