I would like to add a beautiful and solid prayer said by the chaplain of my high school alma mater, Fr. Reddy, CSB, of St. Michael's College School during this morning's prayer and reflection:
Let us pray,
Lord God, you entrusted the See of Peter to Benedict. Bless him, as he prepares to leave that sacred office. Guide the cardinals as they prepare to choose a new pope. Jesus promised to be with his Church until the end of time. May His presence bestow wisdom, holiness, and courage upon the cardinal electors. Lord, grant Pope Benedict peace, comfort, and joy, as he takes this historic step. We ask this through Christ, our Lord, Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.
Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, Pray for us. St. Michael, Pray for us. St. Basil, pray for us.
END EDIT FEB 11 2013.
Okay, so I'm WAY late to the party. Sorry but unlike the rest of the media pundits and bloggers out there, I am a part-time employee who had to do night shift at his workplace and it was a nasty night shift, which I got to do alone (again .... grrrrr ...). This means sleeping and recovering for the duration of the normal daylight hours, so of course I missed the news and did not get to blog until now.
It is old news by now, but our Blessed and Holy Father, B16, is retiring. In over 600 years, a Pope has not ``retired`` from the Papacy, until now. For those who have been eyeing the last couple of years, Pope Benedict has hinted that he might have to retire should his overall physical health decline, and well it has come.
Here is the full text of his resignation speech:
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
It saddens me that this had to happen, but I sympathize with our physically weary and aged Holy Father. Biological ageing is but the cruel pet of death, priming us all for the eventual slice of his scythe. However, in this day and age with the increasing signs of decay and societal collapse, as well as increasing internal division and radicalism/being Judas in the Church, a new fresh body and mind are needed to keep going on the path that John Paul II and Benedict XVI have done in steering the Barque of Peter back onto the intended course. I whole heartedly support the Pope's decision to retire and to bring someone more capable to the helm of the Seat of Rome.
However, this isn't just a waiting game people ..... we should be very cautious and worried and not just trust that things are magically going to continue the way they are via trending. It's no different than politics, where anything can stem the tide of leadership, and all it takes is one stupid bungle or some political interference/manipulation and then bam! An immoral, societally damaging leader and his/her party is in the power seat and undoes all the hard work of the predecessor, economically, socially, morally, etc. I actually heard on the CTV news this evening that there is actually a week before the conclave where the cardinals meet, share meals, chat .... and well the impression I get is that this can influence politically who cardinals will vote for. The key words were "exchanging ideas" which is code for influencing other like-minded cardinals to vote for you, be it traditional or conservative. Sounds to me like political campaigning.
With the seat of Rome about to become "Sede Vacante" (or vacant), and an absolute need for a new successor to the Seat of Rome, and hence the Vicarship of Christ, all of us should be keeping vigil or watch. While Benedict has done his absolute best to ensure that the "right men" for the job of leading the Church are placed in the cardinal-ship not all of the cardinals will be able to lead the Church in the right way as Benedict has. Benedict himself knew that the Church was dying in number and souls were not being saved thanks to the effect that liberalism/modernism/secularism had on Catholics, especially the clergy and institutional body of the Church who have foolishly embraced this with gusto since the mis-application of Vatican II. Sadly, this has been most evident in the Catholic liturgy, which while when done with valid form, matter, and intent by a validly and licitly ordained Catholic priest is SACRAMENTALLY VALID regardless of rite or form of a rite, practically hasn't been nourishing the flock as it should, and everything surrounding it too (e.g. personal anecdotes and weak or absent messages in homilies, stupid props including animals and costumes in the liturgy, watered-down "jesus loves everybody" catechesis of kids and adults, denial of central tenets and doctrine/dogma/beliefs of the faith, "cafeteria" Catholcism...")
While John Paul II started to bring the overall institutional mindset of the Church back on course, B16 went even more further and bolder than his predeccesor, while still remaining an ``intellectual pope`` as some media sources say when comparing him to JPII. He set about and carried out a number of significant things:
- Promulgating the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum with the instruction Ecclesiae Unitatem to restore proper and solid Masses in the Latin Rite (the world`s majority rite) not only to correct presumptions, but to hopefully influence Novus Ordo clergy to make their Masses more orthodox and back to where they should be, and as a peace offering to the (likely now impossible) reconciliation with the SSPX
- Tried to get the SSPX to reconcile with the Church and become canonically valid via freeing the Latin Mass, removing the excommunications of its bishops, and having the doctrinal talks for two years, of which the SSPX has been obstinate in their position and refused to submit to the will of the Lord including his holy bride, the Church, via Rome.
- Promulgating Anglicanorum Coebitus so that Anglicans who are disaffected by what`s going on in their `church` who desire to keep their liturgical traditions and culture, but at the same time want to be in Communion with the Church, had a bridge in order to do so.
- Created a number of excellent and orthodox spiritual works, pre-Papacy and also during his papacy, including the famous Jesus of Nazareth Series and his encyclicals which have been cherised as a whole by Catholics in the Church.
- Stood firm against many different attacking forces in the church including: Secularism, relativism, atrocities in other countries, the sex scandal crisis part II (initial blow-out in 2002 with JPII), and especially wayward liberal clergy, religious, etc. He certainly fought to curb their ways and influence, especially within the institutional Church.
It is with these poignant marks he leaves the Church on a great high note. But after him ... well I don`t know what will happen. And that is the problem. Our next Pope will not likely be a pope who bridged the gap, between pre and post Vatican II changes, and is likely a pure Novus Ordo Mass Pope (though they may have awareness of the Extraordinary Form, has likely never attended one or were too young to appreciate it), Vatican II educated, etc. We hope that their studies, combined with the Holy Father's teachings and statements on Vatican II, have influenced their perspective on the Church, but do we know every cardinal's stance and education? No. Furthermore, not every single cardinal present in the Conclave will likely have the gusto or the traditionalism our Pope had. Should the wrong man be elected to the papacy, I fear:
- That the significant progress that has been made with regard to Christian Unity as well as dealing with other groups of Christians/Catholics will either be bungled or halted. Worse, he may promote false ecumenism or improperly understood ecumenism which also is known as syncretism, that all faiths are equal.
- That the Pope will be liberal and espouse Vatican II to that of a super dogma, ignoring how B16 AND Paul VI called it a pastoral council with no new dogma/doctrine pronounced. In this vein, there will be no correction of errors that were committed by the liberals in the institutional church, nor overall correction back to what is supposed to be interpretation of the Council in continuity with tradition as Benedict has stated numerous times.
- That the situation with the Society of St. Pius X will he handled inappropriately or just not bothered with at all. Personally as opinion, the way they are going now, I hope they do not come back into the Church without severe monitoring and discipline and a total remission of their acts with submission to the doctrinal preamble and the Holy Father. However should this situation be handled poorly, I can see EF-attending Catholic souls being lost to the Society and/or going into ``angry-trad" mode and making us good trads look bad (and they may possibly become spiritually damned from frequent attendance of their "Masses," of which schism is an automatic self-excommunication act), or the Society being let in unchecked into the Church and actually causing more strife and division for Traditional Catholics everywhere. The next pope might also be more of the Muller hard-ball mindset (which I think it 100% needed with them), but being the Pope ... I wouldn't be surprised if the entire society were excommunicated and full schismatic status to be passed on them.
- That the next Pope will have a deterrence to the Latin Mass, and either "ghettoize" it as a whole leaving it to just fetter off itself (which is actually not happening, it`s growing as well as the number of us young Catholics attending it,) and not supporting it, or hating it and giving it negative press which lukewarm and/or uneducated Catholics/clergy will take as a sign to hate the Latin Mass more.
- That those forces, be they secular, or liberally-minded internally in the Church, will truly run the show on the practical level and the Pope will be but the mere "stand-in figure." As an analogy, it will be like in Canada, where the Lieutenant Govenor of Canada is the Queens Representative (of which the Queen truly has governance over Canada) but the Prime minister actually runs the show and practically governs in Canada.
So everyone, I'll admit you probably think I am paranoid, but really one should seriously consider that the Church needs a strong warrior as pope, not so much an intellectual, but one who needs to clean up the institutional aspects further and follow in the footsteps of B16 and everything he's done. He needs to be courageous against those who are not truly vested in carrying out the Gospel in the Church and just being Judases amongst us, and further needs to stand up against those forces attacking us Catholics right now (e.g. radical homosexuals and supporters, Church-haters, pro-choicers, radical Islamic states who persecute our Christian brethen in the Middle East, etc.)
Therefore everyone, I ask one big thing right now.
I am asking you, to pray hard! Extremely hard
that Our Lord, Jesus Christ, will bestow the
Catholic Church with a successor who will truly
proclaim the Gospel of our Lord, and be not afraid
to do as Paul advised the young bishop, Timothy, to
"Fight the good fight of the Faith" in light of the
evils of the world, the flesh, and the Devil, who
seek our physical and eternal ruin in the afterlife.
I will leave off this request with a positive note. As a whole since the JPII/B16 generation of Catholics have come to the forefront and the 60`s-80`s generation of Catholics are dying off, I am seeing overall good fruits and works in the Church. More teachers and catechists and even just ordinary Catholics are doing their best with what they got to proclaim the Gospel, and to do it evangelically. They are trying to fight off the indifferent-ism and false Catholicism of the generations before, and gradually reversing the trends that have weakened the faith in the Church. The younger clergy and laity are waking up and are getting back to the basics as it were. And even some of the older priests, clergy, etc. in the Church are seeing that they have to buckle down in order than my generation does not dwindle away entirely. It is slow, but the message is getting out there. It might be too late to save everyone, but at least things are turning around. In my opinion, it`s very unlikely a hard line, extroverted Liberal will take control of the papacy, rather if anything, the worst we`ll get is a lukewarm pope. However, the Church needs better in these days, and we will more likely get someone of that nature in the Papal Chair, at least equal to that of Benedict on the big stuff, or even better.
So please pray for a new successor who can carry on as B16 has, but even more courageous and willing to fight for us, and allow the Latin Mass to continue thriving in the liturgical, and even the societal, moral, and cultural life of the Church.
Pax Tibi Christ, Julian.