Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Randy Sly

2/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Benedict Resigns but He Leaves a Lasting Legacy

On April 19, 2005 I was driving in my car when word came on the radio that a new pope had been elected. My first thought was to call my friend, Deacon Keith Fournier and tell him what I just heard. When he answered the phone I said, "Habemas papam! We have a new pope!" It really didn't occur to me until much later how much I identified with this election. It would be during the time of Benedict XVI that I would enter the Church. Little did I know then how much he would change my life.

Highlights

By Fr. Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, resignation, Personal Ordinariate


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On Monday morning I was getting ready to leave the house at 6:15 to celebrate the 6:45am Mass at Our Lady of Hope, part of my normal weekly routine. Picking up my iPhone, a Fox News alert flashing on the screen. It indicated that Pope Benedict XVI has just announced his resignation.

In shock, I drove to the Church while searching for news on the radio. I wanted to be sure this was really happening. It was, and that Mass is one I will remember for a long time; not because it was so unique but simply because it was the perfect place to be following such the receipt of such news.

Pope Benedict has been an important part of my new Catholic life since the day he stepped out on the balcony at St. Peter's Square.

I was already in a time of personal discernment with regard full communion with the Catholic Church when Pope John Paul II passed away. He had always been a hero and a spiritual leader I admired greatly. The coverage of his funeral and the subsequent conclave was always on.

On April 19, 2005 I was driving in my car when word came on the radio that a new pope had been elected. My first thought was to call my friend, Deacon Keith Fournier and tell him what I just heard. When he answered the phone I said, "Habemas papam! We have a new pope!"

It really didn't occur to me until much later how much I identified with this election. It would be during the time of Benedict XVI that I would enter the Church. Little did I know then how much he would change my life.

How ironic that eight years later, I text Deacon Keith after seeing the news and again inform him about the Holy Father. This time I'm a Catholic priest and the Holy Father is truly a significant part of my life.

I had entered the Church in 2006 and began to build my life as a Catholic.

In April, 2008 I had the privilege, through my position as Associate Editor of Catholic Online, to be a part of the Press Corps covering the visit of the Holy Father both in Washington and New York. While I was never physically near the Holy Father, even being with him was an amazing experience.

It was during this visit that I experienced first hand how much the Holy Father served as a unifying force among Catholics. As the Vicar of Christ on Earth, he not only brought a continuity to the faith around the world but the faith throughout history.

As wonderful as that visit was, Pope Benedict's impact would still be felt even more personally four years later.

On November 4, 2009 we first received the official word. The Holy Father had released "Anglicanorum coetibus," the apostolic constitution announcing the future establishment of Personal Ordinariates, inviting Anglicans to enter into full communion and to bring with them the best of their patrimony.

My heart leaped. Having already entered the Church three years prior, I wondered what this might mean for me. Since my conversion, the hope for entering Holy Orders had always been with me. While I had resigned my faculties as an Anglican archbishop when I entered the Church, my sense of vocation had never left me. I felt my call was just as strong as ever.

During my period of discernment, I received tremendous counsel that would sustain me during my early days in the Church. I was told very gently, "you may continue to have hope for Holy Orders but don't come into the Church with any sense of expectation or entitlement. If Holy Mother Church wants you to be a priest, she will make a way for you!"

It was through Pope Benedict that the Church did just that. After receiving my rescript from the Holy Father I was ordained a priest last year - one of the first group of Ordinariate priests in America.

At every Mass I had the privilege of praying for him. His writings filled my mind and his vision for the Church inspired my heart.

News of his resignation felt like I was losing my father and, in fact, I was.

On Monday morning, a lot of thoughts raced through my mind, reflecting on why our Holy Father would make this very exceptional decision. It was only eight short years ago that Blessed John Paul II was lauded for staying faithful in his office as the Supreme Pontiff right up until the end and then-Cardinal Ratzinger was there with him.

And, I thought, that might be a part of it. He saw what happened to the role of the Holy Father during a period of infirmity; what could be accomplished and what was put off. He was intimately involved in the last months and days of his predecessor. This may have been a part of what led to his conclusion.

Now, I am not a Vatican insider and, in so many ways, a still-new Catholic. Any of my ponderings are simply that - my ponderings.

While only eight short years have passed, our culture - particularly in the West - has gone through radical metamorphosis. The progressive convictions of our governmental leaders are evident. Those in office are unapologetically and aggressively forcing a dramatic shift to the left, leaving many with the question of what has happened to our country.

Pope Benedict sees this. He also knows what is happening in other parts of the world. While the world is shrinking due to technology, he understands "hi tech, hi touch." As John Naisbitt forecast many years before, the more society develops in the area of technology, the more they need a human touch.

The pope's most powerful pulpit comes in the midst of his people. While he can reach the world from Rome, he knows how much he - or the Holy Father - needs to touch it. Just look at the impact of the World Youth Days.

It seems to this writer that the Pope has a strong conviction that the leader of the Church must be strong enough to travel and talk - battling the spirit of the Age from places not like home. In the eighteenth century, the Methodist/Anglican John Wesley wrote, "all the world is my parish." For the Pontiff, that is really true!

I also have to believe that Benedict is resigning, with the supreme confidence that the Cardinals currently in place will elect the leader that God wants. He knows these men well and he understands what the Church needs. By resigning, he knows that the transition of leadership can be orderly and without the added dynamics of the death of the former leader.

Our Holy Father has indicated that he wants to give the rest of his life to prayer and writing. May God grant him many years, many happy years. As a gifted theologian, he has already gifted the Church with great works over many years both before and after his election as Pope. I can only imagine what he may be able to add to his legacy.

I admire Pope Benedict for breaking with expectation. It was a courageous act on his part, based on deep and long-suffering prayer, a comprehensive examination of conscience and the conviction that this is the best decision for the Church.

Now, we pray. Eight years ago, we witnessed a hand off from a pontiff that many felt would be a hard act to follow. Pope Benedict came in as his own man. He didn't imitate his predecessor but built on his shoulders. Now, he has left his own amazing imprint on the See of Peter and his predecessor will learn how to fill the shoes of the fisherman.

-----
 
Father Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and a priest with the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (http://usordinariate.org) established by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, through the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus." He is currently the chaplain of the St. John Fisher Ordinariate Community, a priest in residence at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church and Director of Pro-Life Activities for the Ordinariate.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Europe

Pope Francis and St Augustine Speak to Bishops

Image of Francis encouraged these men, called to be shepherds of the flock of Christ, to be men of courage. He charged them to overcome the initial fears which can accompany the daunting task entrusted to them by the Lord and His Church.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

This week, Pope Francis met with all of the Bishops who received their appointments in the past year. They are all participating in a training session which is held at the Vatican every year. Francis, the Bishop of Rome, told his brothers they were  - the ... continue reading


Pope hailed as 'pontiff of the poor' by noted Greek atheist and leftist leader Watch

Image of Alexis Tsipras, Greece's opposition leader and a renowned atheist and leftist, met with Pope Francis as part of starting a dialogue between the Church and leftists in Europe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Alexis Tsipras, a radical leftists and self-described atheist-as well as Greece's opposition leader-has hailed Pope Francis as the "pontiff of the poor" after a meeting at the Vatican. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Tsipras, one of the loudest critics of ... continue reading


New apostolic constitution to overhaul Vatican drawn up by Council of Cardinals Watch

Image of The nine cardinals will help advise the Pope on the reform of the Vatican's organization and church governance. Discussions are reportedly now more

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis' international Council of Cardinals have begun a first draft of a new apostolic constitution intended to reform Vatican bureaucracy. Appointed by Pope Francis, the so-called "C-9" of nine cardinal members held its sixth meeting this week. LOS ... continue reading


Until death 'til they part - and then some! Skeletons hold hands for centuries Watch

Image of The skeletons were placed together in this position, as there was enough room in the grave to have them buried apart, according to Vicki Score, ULAS project manager.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was a remarkable find - and a reminder on how love can last past the grave. Two skeletons, holding hands centuries after their passing, were discovered in an old, British churchyard. Fingers still entwined, the couple was found in a site that overlooks the ... continue reading


Who was the mysterious third tribe that formed gene pool with primitive Europeans? Watch

Image of Hunter-gatherers arrived in Europe thousands of years before the advent of agriculture. These hunters took shelter in the south during the Ice Age and then expanded during a period called the Mesolithic, after the ice sheets had retreated from central and northern Europe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers at Harvard medical School have definitely linked at least three tribes that combined to create Europeans of 7,000 years ago. Scientists say that blue-eyed hunters with olive skin mingled with brown-eyed, fair-completed farmers as these tillers swept ... continue reading


Shakespearean villain Richard III died from battle wounds Watch

Image of King Richard III suffered a total of 11 wounds around the time of his death. According to analysis, Richard suffered nine wounds to his skull and two to the rest of his body.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Classical Shakespearean villain and colorful historical figure King Richard III died from a particularly brutal blow to the skull he suffered in battle. A forensic analysis of his skeleton gave scientists' clues to his final moments. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Millions displaced from homes due to natural disasters Watch

Image of Last year, seasonal floods caused significant displacements in sub-Saharan Africa, notably in Niger, Chad, Sudan and South Sudan, countries also affected by conflict and drought.

By Laura Onita, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Almost 22 million people were forced to flee their homes due to natural disasters last year and the numbers uprooted could increase as urban populations grow, a refugee agency said on Wednesday. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The majority were in Asia, where 19 million ... continue reading


Pope Francis invites Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet with him Watch

Image of It's not yet known how Chinese President Xi Jinping will respond to Pope Francis' request for a special meeting.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has reportedly invited the President of China, Xi Jinping to meet with him, either in the Vatican or Beijing. The pontiff wants to speak to the president in order to build a lasting global peace, which the Pope says is engaged in a "piecemeal" ... continue reading


Marriage and Holiness: Pope Marries Twenty Couples on the Exaltation of the Cross Watch

Image of One of the twenty couples who exchanged their vows in the presence of Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Much of the Press, including circles of the Catholic Press, focused on the unique path which some of the couples followed to the Sacrament of Marriage; even though they had all arrived at the Altar, offering their love to the Source of all true Love, for ... continue reading


Pope Francis Gives Impassioned Plea for an End to War: What Does it Matter to Me? Watch

Image of Pope Francis walks inside the Austro-Hungarian cemetery at Fogliano in Redipuglia September 13, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

By Catholic Online

With this - What does it matter to me?-  in their hearts, the merchants of war perhaps have made a great deal of money, but their corrupted hearts have lost the capacity to cry.  That - What does it matter to me?- prevents the tears.  Cain did not ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Proverbs 3:27-34
27 Refuse no kindness to those who have a right to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 15:2-3, 3-4, 5
2 Whoever lives blamelessly, who acts uprightly, who ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:16-18
16 'No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Thomas of Villanueva
September 22: Augustinian bishop. Born at Fuentellana, Castile, Spain, he was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter