A Letter from His Excellency, Bishop Gregory J. Mansour, Eparchy of Saint Maron, Brooklyn
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,I awoke this morning, as all of you did, to the surprise news of the Holy Father’s renunciation of the Petrine Ministry in the Church, to which he was elected by the College of Cardinals eight years ago. I cannot think of the Church without him at the helm. Nor could I have thought eight years ago of the Church without Blessed John Paul II. We live in Christian hope.
Pope Benedict spoke of the Church as a ship, and the one who serves at the helm, the Pope, serves in Peter, the fisherman’s, place. He needs strength of soul and body to do so. Moreover, the Pope said, even though there is suffering and prayer associated with the Petrine ministry, in the modern day a Pope needs much strength to carry the Church’s mission well. Pope Benedict examined his conscience many times, and he said he came to a certainty that this is his time to “let go”. This is bold, loving and wise.
Notice that the Pope does not “resign”. Patriarchs and Bishops resign, because they send in their resignation to the Pope. But the Pope “lets go”, he used the word “renounce”, which is the word we also embrace during Lent, to renounce whatever does not lead us or those we serve to be closer to God. What an act of humility and love for the Church!
The Holy Father asked all of us once again to entrust the Church to the True Shepherd, Jesus Christ, and he asked the Blessed Mother to intercede for the Church’s Cardinal electors, so that by the Holy Spirit they may elect a worthy successor. The Holy Father asked God and us to forgive his shortcomings, and pledged to live the rest of his life in devoted service to the church through prayer.
Wow, what a witness to faith in God, and in his Church! The Holy Father’s talk to the Cardinals, a beautiful talk given in Latin, so we know that this was quite freely and soberly thought and prayed out, can be read here:
I hope everyone will read it.
May God bless Pope Benedict the man, the Christian, the Bishop, the Pope, and the faithful “Servant of the Servants of God”, and bless the Church, the ship of Peter, as she continues to live and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ.