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 July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Europe

Stop! I am asking you with all my heart. Stop! - Pope Urges End to Wars in Ukraine, Iraq and Gaza

Image of Brothers and sisters: never war.My thoughts go especially to the children, from whom we take away the hope for a decent life: dead children, injured children, maimed children, orphaned children, children who have war relics for toys, children who do not know how to smile.- Pope Francis

By Asia News

He mentions children, victims of war, "from whom we take away the hope for a decent life," urging the parties to address "every diatribe with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation and the power of reconciliation". As tomorrow marks 100 years since the outbreak ... continue reading


Meriam Ibraham is Free! The Living God Has Heard the Cry of His People! Jesus Christ is Lord! Watch

Image of Meriam receives the blessing and the gratitude of the successor of Peter, Francis.- What should be front and center in every Christian news report on this remarkable story is that God intervened on behalf of Meriam and her family. The God whom we profess is real and His power is greater than any regime or any form of opposition. Yes, He used men and women, and even government leaders, to accomplish His deliverance. He often does. But it was His Love and Mercy which broke the shackles of evil. He deserves all the praise.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The photo of Pope Francis blessing Meriam Ibrahim and her little daughter Maya in the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, July 24, 2014, reciving a blessing from a smiling Pope Francis, made millions of hearts leap for joy. The God of love answers the prayers of His ... continue reading


'A negative act necessarily must be condemned:' Vatican revising law on abuse penalties Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In regards to canonical law regarding acts of sexual misconduct, according to law ended up being too vague, Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta says, church sanctions were being applied so haphazardly that the church appeared to be divided. In response, the Vatican is ... continue reading


VILE: Somali girl smuggled into United Kingdom for organ harvesting Watch

Image of In perhaps the most horrific recent case, law enforcement learned that a Somali girl had been brought to England for the express purpose of harvesting her organs for transplant.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There has been a noticeable uptick of cases of human trafficking in the United Kingdom. In perhaps the most horrific recent case, law enforcement learned that a Somali girl had been brought to England for the express purpose of harvesting her organs for ... continue reading


HORRIFIC ABUSE: 18-year-old girl coerced into group sex while being recorded on cell phone Watch

Image of The incident is being called an example of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An 18-year-old girl performed explicit sex acts on 24 men on a dance floor with the promise of a holiday - which never arrived. Presented with a mixed drink for her acts of indecency, the sordid episode was recorded on a cell phone camera - for the world to ... continue reading


Female genital mutilation threatens young females in England, Wales Watch

Image of The Department of Health has ordered hospitals to report signs of genital mutilation. The first statistics aren't due until September.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Far away from Africa and parts of Asia, girls and young women are still at risk for female genital mutilation, or FGM within the United Kingdom. The barbaric practice, FGM, is still carried out among various immigrant females in both Great Britain and Wales. ... continue reading


Putin vs. the World: One plane crash may spell the end for Russian president's ambitious plan of conquest Watch

Image of Russian backed separatists stand around wreckage from the downed Malaysian Airlines plane.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

World opinion continues to oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine being the most notable and recent example of Russian interference in Ukraine. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Time and evidence ... continue reading


Prophetic Pope Does It Again: Words to an Economic Conference Make Waves Watch

Image of Pope Francis is absolutely correct. It is not

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On July 12, 2014, this prophetic Pope made waves again. He addressed participants in an international conference entitled - The Global Common Good: Towards A More Inclusive Economy. The conference was convened in Rome and sponsored by the Pontifical Council for ... continue reading


Sting nabs 600 pedos across UK, Scotland, Northen Ireland Watch

Image of Heightened awareness of child sexual abuse in the United Kingdom came in the wake of shocking revelations of predatory sexual behavior by late TV host Jimmy Savile.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Internet sting operation targeting pedophiles has led to the arrest of 660 individuals in the United Kingdom. Among those arrested were teachers, doctors, scout leaders, social care workers and former police officers. The six-month investigation was ... continue reading


MYSTERIOUS BISHOP: Father of British science to be honored Watch

Image of Bishop Robert Grosseteste was one of England's foremost scientific scholars, back in the 13th century.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A theologian from Bishop Grosseteste University in the city of Lincoln has called for the erection of a statue of Bishop Robert Grosseteste, the medieval thinker, in his home city of Lincoln. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Dr. Jack Cunningham said that a ... 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, First Kings 3:5, 7-12
5 At Gibeon Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130
57 My task, I have said, Yahweh, is to keep your ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-52
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 8:28-30
28 We are well aware that God works with those who ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 27th, 2014 Image

St. Pantaleon
July 27: St Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. ... 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