Pope Benedict XVI announced on Feb. 11, 2013, that he will resign, effective Feb. 28, 2013. At Vatican City, he told a gathering of cardinals, "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 by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering."
This will be the first papal resignation in almost 600 years. Gregory XII resigned in 1415, forced by the Council of Constance to end the Great Schism. St. Celestine V in resigned in 1294, the last pope before Benedict XVI to voluntarily resign.
Full text of Pope's declaration
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
Bishop Malone's statement on resignation of Pope Benedict XVI
This morning's announcement from the Holy Father that he would be resigning at the end of the month certainly came as a surprise.
When I met with the pope in November 2011 at the Vatican, he did seem rather frail. I wish to express my gratitude for his faithful ministry as Successor of St. Peter, his life of scholarship and his faithful leadership of the Catholic Church. One hallmarks of Pope Benedict XVI is his humility and pastoral concern in putting the good of the Church first in his discernment. I cherish the pectoral cross he gave to me and other bishops who met with him during our Ad Limina visit.
During his nearly eight year papacy, we have been witness to his keen intellect through his marvelous encyclicals: God is Love, In Hope We Are Saved and Charity in Truth. His Jesus of Nazareth book series is inspirational.
With the pending resignation of Pope Benedict, the same process by which he was elected in 2005 will be followed as soon as he steps down, with a conclave of the College of Cardinals, guided by Holy Spirit, electing the next pope.
I ask all Catholics in the Diocese of Buffalo to join me in prayer for Pope Benedict XVI, giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for the pope's lifetime of dedicated, selfless service to the Church.