The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World


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After their parents' deaths Maria would stay at her younger brother's side, moving with him to Muenster, Tubingen, Regensburg, Munich and eventually Rome. The three siblings made every effort to spend holidays together, despite the distances. He was said to have played a key role discussions among German-speaking participants, and gained a reputation as a progressive theologian.

The experience also led to him to important roles with the German Bishops' Conference and the International Theological Comission. Pope Benedict was appointed Bishop of Munich and Freising in He was the first diocesan priest in 80 years to be appointed head of that diocese. He chose the phrase "cooperators of truth" as his Episcopal motto, explaining the choice saying "On the one hand I saw it as the relation between my previous task as professor and my new mission.

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In spite of different approaches, what was involved, and continued to be so, was following the truth and being at its service. On the other hand I chose that motto because in today's world the theme of truth is omitted almost entirely, as something too great for man, and yet everything collapses if truth is missing". That same year he was elevated to the College of Cardinals. He also served as president of the preparatory commission for the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in presented the finished work to the Holy Father. That meant he would play a key role in the preparations for the funeral of John Paul II and the resulting conclave.

In , while still head of the congregation for the Doctrine of the faith, he reportedly asked John Paul II to appoint him Cardinal Librarian of the Vatican Library, but his request was denied. He continued on as head of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation and served as a consultor to various other Vatican councils and congregations, including the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, for Bishops, for the Evangelization of Peoples, for the Causes of Saints, and Pontifical Councils for Promoting Christian Unity, for Culture, and the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura as well as the Comissions for the correct interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, and "Ecclessia Dei.

In the book Light of the World, he told German journalist Peter Seewald he thought it was appropriate for a pontiff to resign if and when he no longer has the strength to carry out his Petrine ministry. In the same book he told Seewald he felt is own strength diminishing. His decision to resign is considered by many another lesson delivered by a master theologian.

Official translation from Latin of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI Dear Brothers, 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.

Pope Benedict, his namesake, a debate - Washington Times

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 , in such a way, that as from 28 February , at 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. 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 The last time a pope resigned from the Chair of Peter was , in effort to end a major schism.

His Own Pope Yet?

The Code of Canon Laws allows for a pope to resign. The only conditions are that the decision be made freely and be publicly manifested. There is no specific person or body that must accept a pope's resignation. Benedict XVI fulfilled these requirements, making his announcement at the end of a consistory of cardinals, in the presence of Vatican Television Cameras, ready to broadcast his announcement to the World.

He was the nephew of his two predecessors and it is said he viewed the papacy as his inheritance.

Pope Benedict XVI's threads of history

He actually resigned twice, once for a large sum of money. This would have taken place around However, even though Gregory XII's election was greeted with joy, it did not bring peace to the church. Furthermore a Synod decided that the way in which he became pope was equal to simony, and convinced him that the honorable thing to do was resign.


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Celestine V reigned in after only five months as Pope. He issued a solemn decree declaring that it was permissible for a pope to abdicate, and then went ahead and did so himself. He lived another two years after he resigned, and died a hermit. At the time of his resignation there were three claimants to the papacy. What did the 84 cardinals who voted for Joseph Ratzinger on the fourth ballot think they were getting?

Gibson believes they were looking for "space to breathe".

If so, they have achieved it, but surely what influenced them most were the amazing scenes around John Paul's dying and his funeral, when several million flocked into Rome and some three billion viewers watched on television. Joseph Ratzinger gave the funeral oration, showing a capacity for emotion that no one had previously associated with him. What they have actually got, Gibson rightly says, is a transitional pope.

But transition to what? Gibson cannot yet say, and nor can anyone else.


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Had he been a cardinal at the conclave, Gibson would not have voted for Joseph Ratzinger. There were Catholics, he writes in his latest book, "who expected the conclave of to choose a people's pope for a people's Church", and he will have shared their hopes. Kaiser's campaigning style may put some readers off, but he is on to something vital.

Vatican II was indeed, in a sense, a move to return the Church to the people. Faith resides in them, not just in the bishops. Kaiser continually calls attention to one of the Council's preferred images for the Church: "the people of God". This image has subsequently dropped almost out of sight. He supplements these compelling portraits with some fascinating "excursions". But Kaiser skates on thin ice when he envisages a people's Church in the United States that would be "less Roman, more catholic - and more American".

A Spanish priest who has spent his life working with the poor in El Salvador, Father Sobrino narrowly escaped death in when six of his confreres were murdered by Salvadoran death squads. Despite that personal story, Benedict went ahead with the rebuke of Father Sobrino, whom the Vatican, with minimal explanation, accused of not sufficiently emphasizing the divinity of Jesus.

A Brief History of Vatican Foreign Policy

It was a questionable judgment theologically, and smacked of piling on. Cardinal Ratzinger had fought a long and by all accounts successful campaign against liberation theology, and while Sobrino remains popular, Benedict, as pope, could well have sat back and enjoyed the pax Romana that he helped to secure. The censure was a sorrowful blow to Father Sobrino, who has health problems and is semi-retired, and above all to his many supporters in Latin America who believe that justice goes hand in hand with charity.

The pope actually devoted the bulk of that lecture to questioning non-Catholic Christians and secular Westerners who he said were in thrall to modern rationalism. Certainly, Benedict has in two years preached many striking and even lyrical meditations on the beauty of the faith that is at the heart of Christianity.


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The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World
The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World
The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World
The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World
The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World

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