Five Towns Patch asked the Rev. Tom Moriarty of Saint Joseph's Church to react to Pope Benedict XVI's decision to retire at the end of the month. Here's what he had to say:
On Thursday, Feb. 28, the Chair of Saint Peter will, for a short time, stand vacant. Although this has happened many times before, the reason for this vacancy is truly historical. His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, will step down from his role as Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church after almost an eight-year pontificate. Indicating he has chosen to make such an extreme move for health reasons, he becomes the first to step down from this Office in almost 600 years.
At first glance, this may seem drastic. By looking deeper into the Holy Father’s reasoning, we can see the real love he has for the Church he has served so well for most of his life. Holding the most powerful religious office in the world, by stepping down, Pope Benedict has chosen to act out of love and concern for the church. Putting aside his position of power with grace and humility, he leaves his pontificate with gratitude, and a plea for forgiveness. In a statement made to cardinals gathered this past Monday morning, Pope Benedict states:
“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.”
In his final days in the public square, he continues teaching us to meet our obligations with simplicity and sincerity. Never to put ourselves in the way of the better good, but through prayer, trust in God’s providence. Listen with open mind and heart to where the voice of God is summoning you, and then move forward, confident you walk in His path.
Much will be said about this beloved man. There will be voices of love and respect, and voices of condemnation. There will be wonderful stories of his quiet way of serving the Lord and his people. There will be vicious attacks that claim to promote the “real truth,” but are nothing more than statements made out of ignorance at the very least, or purposefully misleading to the extreme. It is my prayer that in the pages of history, future generations will read of the great love this Pope showed toward the Lord, and the Church he loved so well. Viva il Papa!!!