Pastor's Desk: First Sunday of Lent
Pope Benedict’s Resignation
Welcome everyone to our first Sunday Mass of the season of Lent. There was absolutely nothing this time last week to indicate that it would be any different from previous years until the extraordinary announcement by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that he is renouncing the Petrine Ministry as of the evening of 28th February. The word extraordinary doesn’t really capture the monumental significance of his decision but then again how do you find appropriate words for an event that last freely happened over 700 years ago! The resignation of the pope has been allowed for in the current code of Canon Law since its proclamation in 1983. The fact that Pope Benedict has chosen to enact it shows the character of the man and his love for the Catholic Church to which he has given over his entire life.
His ministry as Pope began in 2005 in the huge shadow of Pope John Paul II. True to his own strengths, Benedict devoted himself to a teaching ministry producing his three volume book on the person of Jesus Christ. He was one of the oldest elected popes being 78 when he began and there is no doubt that the demands of the papal ministry are daunting. We give thanks for his devoted ministry and pray the Lord will spare him to enjoy years of retirement given in prayer.
One thing that has disappointed me since Pope Benedict’s announcement has been the coverage in the secular media such as RTE, TV3, the Irish Times and the Irish Independent. They really do not understand the church or how it works; and so to hear them speak about a new Pope introducing a new attitude to abortion and gay marriage shows the depth of their ignorance. Pope Benedict did not introduce the church’s teaching on these matters as some kind of prime minister would introduce policy in government. The moral teachings of the church have been passed down from generation to generation as part of the “Deposit of Faith” and a new Pope must guard that deposit. For good coverage of the resignation and election process look to religious media, namely; The Irish Catholic, The Tablet, The Universe, to name but a few.