Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Randy Sly

2/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Benedict Resigns but He Leaves a Lasting Legacy

On April 19, 2005 I was driving in my car when word came on the radio that a new pope had been elected. My first thought was to call my friend, Deacon Keith Fournier and tell him what I just heard. When he answered the phone I said, "Habemas papam! We have a new pope!" It really didn't occur to me until much later how much I identified with this election. It would be during the time of Benedict XVI that I would enter the Church. Little did I know then how much he would change my life.

Highlights

By Fr. Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, resignation, Personal Ordinariate


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On Monday morning I was getting ready to leave the house at 6:15 to celebrate the 6:45am Mass at Our Lady of Hope, part of my normal weekly routine. Picking up my iPhone, a Fox News alert flashing on the screen. It indicated that Pope Benedict XVI has just announced his resignation.

In shock, I drove to the Church while searching for news on the radio. I wanted to be sure this was really happening. It was, and that Mass is one I will remember for a long time; not because it was so unique but simply because it was the perfect place to be following such the receipt of such news.

Pope Benedict has been an important part of my new Catholic life since the day he stepped out on the balcony at St. Peter's Square.

I was already in a time of personal discernment with regard full communion with the Catholic Church when Pope John Paul II passed away. He had always been a hero and a spiritual leader I admired greatly. The coverage of his funeral and the subsequent conclave was always on.

On April 19, 2005 I was driving in my car when word came on the radio that a new pope had been elected. My first thought was to call my friend, Deacon Keith Fournier and tell him what I just heard. When he answered the phone I said, "Habemas papam! We have a new pope!"

It really didn't occur to me until much later how much I identified with this election. It would be during the time of Benedict XVI that I would enter the Church. Little did I know then how much he would change my life.

How ironic that eight years later, I text Deacon Keith after seeing the news and again inform him about the Holy Father. This time I'm a Catholic priest and the Holy Father is truly a significant part of my life.

I had entered the Church in 2006 and began to build my life as a Catholic.

In April, 2008 I had the privilege, through my position as Associate Editor of Catholic Online, to be a part of the Press Corps covering the visit of the Holy Father both in Washington and New York. While I was never physically near the Holy Father, even being with him was an amazing experience.

It was during this visit that I experienced first hand how much the Holy Father served as a unifying force among Catholics. As the Vicar of Christ on Earth, he not only brought a continuity to the faith around the world but the faith throughout history.

As wonderful as that visit was, Pope Benedict's impact would still be felt even more personally four years later.

On November 4, 2009 we first received the official word. The Holy Father had released "Anglicanorum coetibus," the apostolic constitution announcing the future establishment of Personal Ordinariates, inviting Anglicans to enter into full communion and to bring with them the best of their patrimony.

My heart leaped. Having already entered the Church three years prior, I wondered what this might mean for me. Since my conversion, the hope for entering Holy Orders had always been with me. While I had resigned my faculties as an Anglican archbishop when I entered the Church, my sense of vocation had never left me. I felt my call was just as strong as ever.

During my period of discernment, I received tremendous counsel that would sustain me during my early days in the Church. I was told very gently, "you may continue to have hope for Holy Orders but don't come into the Church with any sense of expectation or entitlement. If Holy Mother Church wants you to be a priest, she will make a way for you!"

It was through Pope Benedict that the Church did just that. After receiving my rescript from the Holy Father I was ordained a priest last year - one of the first group of Ordinariate priests in America.

At every Mass I had the privilege of praying for him. His writings filled my mind and his vision for the Church inspired my heart.

News of his resignation felt like I was losing my father and, in fact, I was.

On Monday morning, a lot of thoughts raced through my mind, reflecting on why our Holy Father would make this very exceptional decision. It was only eight short years ago that Blessed John Paul II was lauded for staying faithful in his office as the Supreme Pontiff right up until the end and then-Cardinal Ratzinger was there with him.

And, I thought, that might be a part of it. He saw what happened to the role of the Holy Father during a period of infirmity; what could be accomplished and what was put off. He was intimately involved in the last months and days of his predecessor. This may have been a part of what led to his conclusion.

Now, I am not a Vatican insider and, in so many ways, a still-new Catholic. Any of my ponderings are simply that - my ponderings.

While only eight short years have passed, our culture - particularly in the West - has gone through radical metamorphosis. The progressive convictions of our governmental leaders are evident. Those in office are unapologetically and aggressively forcing a dramatic shift to the left, leaving many with the question of what has happened to our country.

Pope Benedict sees this. He also knows what is happening in other parts of the world. While the world is shrinking due to technology, he understands "hi tech, hi touch." As John Naisbitt forecast many years before, the more society develops in the area of technology, the more they need a human touch.

The pope's most powerful pulpit comes in the midst of his people. While he can reach the world from Rome, he knows how much he - or the Holy Father - needs to touch it. Just look at the impact of the World Youth Days.

It seems to this writer that the Pope has a strong conviction that the leader of the Church must be strong enough to travel and talk - battling the spirit of the Age from places not like home. In the eighteenth century, the Methodist/Anglican John Wesley wrote, "all the world is my parish." For the Pontiff, that is really true!

I also have to believe that Benedict is resigning, with the supreme confidence that the Cardinals currently in place will elect the leader that God wants. He knows these men well and he understands what the Church needs. By resigning, he knows that the transition of leadership can be orderly and without the added dynamics of the death of the former leader.

Our Holy Father has indicated that he wants to give the rest of his life to prayer and writing. May God grant him many years, many happy years. As a gifted theologian, he has already gifted the Church with great works over many years both before and after his election as Pope. I can only imagine what he may be able to add to his legacy.

I admire Pope Benedict for breaking with expectation. It was a courageous act on his part, based on deep and long-suffering prayer, a comprehensive examination of conscience and the conviction that this is the best decision for the Church.

Now, we pray. Eight years ago, we witnessed a hand off from a pontiff that many felt would be a hard act to follow. Pope Benedict came in as his own man. He didn't imitate his predecessor but built on his shoulders. Now, he has left his own amazing imprint on the See of Peter and his predecessor will learn how to fill the shoes of the fisherman.

-----
 
Father Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and a priest with the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (http://usordinariate.org) established by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, through the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus." He is currently the chaplain of the St. John Fisher Ordinariate Community, a priest in residence at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church and Director of Pro-Life Activities for the Ordinariate.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Europe

Archaeologists find a very different type of 'treasure' - a 2,000-year-old toilet seat Watch

Image of Discovered at Vindolanda fort on Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Accustomed to finding priceless coins, artwork and historical artifacts, archaeologists in Great Britain have found an altogether different type of treasure - one that was desperately needed in ancient times - a wooden toilet seat, believed to be 2,000 years ... continue reading


Over 1,400 girls raped and abused by Muslims in English town Watch

Image of For more than 12 years a large community of Pakistanis living in England have enjoyed sexually abusing girls while officials turned a blind eye a new report reveals.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over a 12 year period, hundreds of children were systematically raped, beaten and sex trafficked in a northern English town, and the government commissioned report on the incident reveals that it is still going on today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This ... continue reading


Guilty? Corruption case moves forward against the head of International Monetary Fund Watch

Image of Christine Legarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, who is facing charges currently in France.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christine Legarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and one of the most powerful women in the world, has been charged with "negligence" over a multi-million-euro graft case relating to her time as a French finance minister. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Scandalous details come to light over defrocked nuncio's abuse of young boys Watch

Image of Shoeshine boys int he Dominican Republic say that Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski would cruise the oceanfront promenade and offer them large sums of money for sexual acts.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Loathsome details have come to light over defrocked Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican's ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Shoeshine boys say that Wesolowski would cruise the oceanfront promenade and offer them large sums of money for sexual ... continue reading


Archbishop appeals his defrocking for sexual abuse allegedly committed in Dominican Republic Watch

Image of If found guilty in a criminal trial, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski could risk extradition to the Dominican Republic, which has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the case.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, from Poland, is accused of child sex abuse while he served in the Dominican Republic. He has since appealed against a Roman Catholic tribunal's decision to defrock him, according to the Vatican. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


SHOCKING: Are there more British Muslims fighting for the Islamic State than for British military? Watch

Image of Many young men facing poor job prospects in the U.K. find the IS narrative of defending Islam hard to resist.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a shocking figure that has many questioning immigration laws. Britain's Ministry of Defense has confirmed that there are approximately 600 British Muslim service members in its armed forces of almost 200,000 people. In a momentous slap to the West - and ... continue reading


British Archbishop demands Muslim leaders enforce discipline on youth or face the consequences Watch

Image of George Carey, a former Archbishop recently spoke on the dangers of the Islamic State, as well as the British Muslims who go overseas to fight for it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A former Archbishop of Canterbury has called for Britons that are fighting for the Islamic State to be banished from Britain. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lord George Carey of Clifton said that Muslims must  discipline their young people, or see them ... continue reading


Pontifical Council Statement on the Violence in Iraq Watch

Image of Let us therefore unite our voices with that of Pope Francis:

By Vatican Radio

No cause, and certainly no religion, can justify such barbarity. This constitutes an extremely serious offense to humanity and to God who is the Creator, as Pope Francis has often reminded us. VATICAN CITY (Vatican Radio) - The Pontifical Council for Interreligious ... continue reading


British rapper makes 14-year-old girl post sex video online Watch

Image of The girl, who can't be named for legal reasons, accepted a friend request from rapper Logik, whose real name is Kyle Burns.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was a sick incident that highlights what's going on around the eyes and ears of semi-attentive parents. A British rapper who goes under the stage name of "Logik" asked a 14-year-old girl to pose an indecent 60-second video of herself to which he promised ... continue reading


A new tomb may be the burial place of Alexander the Great Watch

Image of This road leads up to a newly discovered tomb which could hold the remains of one of Alexander the Great's generals.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologists in Greece have discovered an immense tomb that they believe may be connected with Alexander the Great, whose conquests stretched from Greece to India. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This tomb, which dates to around 300 BC, may have held the body ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 1:26-31
26 Consider, brothers, how you were called; not many ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:12-13, 18-19, 20-21
12 How blessed the nation whose God is Yahweh, the ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:14-30
14 'It is like a man about to go abroad who summoned ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 30th, 2014 Image

St. Rumon
August 30: St. Rumon, also known as Ruan, Ronan, and Ruadan, was probably a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter