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Guest Opinion: Ecce Homo, Behold the Man! The Humble Act of Pope Benedict XVI

By Paul Kokoski
February 17th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Benedict XVI's  decision to  abdicate the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, comes at a time when there is a ferocious battle going on within the Catholic Church and a rising tide of hatred towards authentic Christianity from outside. The pope has had to endure much in  his heroic efforts to steer the Barque of Peter away from the errors and influence of the progressives, atheists,  and other dissidents. 

HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA (Catholic Online) - "Ecce homo," "Behold the man!" These were the words spoken by Pontius Pilate when he presented a scourged Jesus Christ to a hostile mob shortly before his crucifixion. The same words aptly apply today to Pope Benedict XVI, as he is being held up to unprecedented ridicule and scorn by some members of a hateful press and misunderstood in a world out of touch with its spiritual nature and moral being. One can almost hear Jesus saying to the peaceful and benevolent pope: "If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first" (John 15:18).

Pope Benedict XVI's  decision to  abdicate the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, comes at a time when there is a ferocious battle going on within the Catholic Church and a rising tide of hatred towards authentic Christianity from outside. The pope has had to endure much in  his heroic efforts to steer the Barque of Peter away from the errors and influence of the progressives, atheists,  and other dissidents. 

For strategic reasons, due to "deteriorating strength of mind and body",  the pope has  chosen to humble himself in an act  self-sacrifice to pave the way for an urgently needed stronger pope and stronger Church. He has chosen to engage in an act of supreme charity not only for the good of the Catholic Church, but for the whole world. And he has done it at the very beginning of Lent, the Catholic season of special prayer, fasting and almsgiving  that culminates in the full remembrance of the suffering and resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter.

The world wants to see the death of the church because it knows the church is the mother of all saints. It knows that the Catholic Church is the last bastion of hope against a materialistic world that craves immorality at every step including homosexuality, same-sex marriage, easy divorce, abortion, radical feminism, contraception, embryonic stem-cell research and cloning. Contrary to his critics, Pope Benedict will be remembered not for the scandals of a few priests but for his intense suffering in protecting the faith from wolves in sheep's clothing. He will be known as one of the greatest of Catholic martyrs.

The Holy Father was an inspiration and a model witness to the life of Christ; a shepherd of truth constantly guarding his flock so that Christ might find faith on earth when He returns. Immersed in profound humility and immense love for both God and man he has always been a source of strength, encouragement, confidence, optimism and enlightenment not only to Catholics but to all men of good will.

A champion of the poor and ardent exponent of Christian unity, the German Pontiff was, in many and such capacities as teaching, governing and sanctifying, both a beacon of light and salt of the earth. He has never ceased to offer fresh hope for defeating the forces of tyranny, cynicism and moral relativism hovering like a dark cloud on the horizon.
 
Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ, he was the world\'s most influential and uncompromising defender of the dignity of human life. His tenacious pleas for the development of a \"culture of life\" and parallel denunciations of the \"culture of death\" have been instrumental in rallying opposition to the immorality of war, terrorism, abortion, euthanasia, divorce, contraception, homosexuality and embryonic-tissue research.

Pope Benedict XVI  lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way. He was slow to condemn and quick to forgive, applying the medicine of mercy to all sinners.

He has a brilliant philosophical and, in particular, theological mind that has endearingly embraced a vision of broad spiritual and ecclesial horizons: personal holiness extended to the supreme sacrifice, missionary outreach combined with constant concern for unity, the necessary integration of spiritual charism and institutional ministry.

His episcopal motto \"Co-worker of the Truth\" has guided him in his tireless and uncompromising efforts aimed at defending and promoting the Catholic faith and its morals against modern errors in an age in which the Catholic Church has suffered unprecedented persecutions and martyrdom.

Pope Benedict XVI  has also worked to encourage studies aimed at increasing knowledge of the faith so that the new problems arising from the progress of science and civilization can be answered in the light of the Word of God.

The aim for which he has always striven has been to serve the truth, seek to know it ever more thoroughly and make it ever more widely known.
 
May the Lord of all graces and giver of every gift bless Pope Benedict XVI.

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Mr. Paul Kokoski is a freelance writer who holds a BA in philosophy from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. His articles have been published in several journals including, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, New Oxford Review and Catholic Insight.

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