Benedict XVI says he felt he had a ‘duty’ to resign because of his health

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has said in an interview that he felt a “duty” to resign from the papacy because of his declining health and the rigorous demands of papal travel.

While his heart was set on completing the Year of Faith, the retired pope told Italian journalist Elio Guerriero that after his visit to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012, he felt he was “incapable of fulfilling” the demands of another international trip, especially with World Youth Day 2013 scheduled for Brazil.

“With the program set out by John Paul II for these (World Youth) days, the physical presence of the pope was indispensable,” he told Guerriero in an interview, which is included in the journalist’s upcoming biography of Pope Benedict. “This, too, was a circumstance which made my resignation a duty,” the pope said.

An excerpt of Guerriero’s book, “Servant of God and Humanity: The Biography of Benedict XVI,” was published Aug. 24 in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica.

Pope Benedict said that although he was moved by the “profound faith” of the people of Mexico and Cuba, it was during his visit to the two countries in 2012 that he “experienced very strongly the limits of my physical endurance.”

Among the problems with committing to the gruelling schedule of an international trip was the change in time zones. Upon consulting with his doctor, he said, it became clear “that I would never be able to take part in the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.”

“From that day, I had to decide in a relatively short time the date of my retirement,” he said.

Guerriero noted that while many believed the pope’s retirement was a defeat for the church, Pope Benedict continues to seem “calm and confident.” The retired pope said he “completely agreed” with the journalist’s observation.

“I would have been truly worried if I was not convinced — as I had said in the beginning of my pontificate — of being a simple and humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard,” he said.

The retired pope added that while he was aware of his limitations, he accepted his election in 2005 “in a spirit of obedience” and that despite the difficult moments, there were also “many graces.”

“I realized that everything I had to do I could not do on my own and so I was almost obliged to put myself in God’s hands, to trust in Jesus who — while I wrote my book on him — I felt bound to by an old and more profound friendship,” he said.

The retired pontiff spends his days in prayer and contemplation while residing at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in Vatican City. For 19 years, different contemplative orders took turns living in the monastery with a mission focused on praying for the pope and the church.

Benedict said that upon learning that the Visitandine nuns would be leaving the residence, he realized “almost naturally that this would be the place where I could retire in order to continue in my own way the service of prayer of which John Paul II had intended for this house.”

Among the visitors Pope Benedict receives is Pope Francis, who “never fails to visit me before embarking on a long trip,” he said.

Asked about his personal relationship with his successor, Pope Benedict said they shared a “wonderfully paternal-fraternal relationship” and he has been profoundly touched by his “extraordinarily human availability.”

“I often receive small gifts, personally written letters” from Pope Francis, he said. “The human kindness with which he treats me is a particular grace of this last phase of my life for which I can only be grateful. What he says about being open toward other men and women is not just words. He puts it into practice with me.”

Pope Francis, who wrote the book’s preface, expressed his admiration for the retired pope and said his spiritual bond with his predecessor “remains particularly profound.”

“In all my meetings with him, I have been able to experience not only reverence and obedience, but also friendly spiritual closeness, the joy of praying together, sincere brotherhood, understanding and friendship, and also his availability for advice,” Pope Francis wrote.

The church’s mission of proclaiming the merciful love of God for the world, he added, has and continues to be exemplified in the life of Pope Benedict.

“The whole life of thought and the works of Joseph Ratzinger have focused on this purpose and — in the same direction, with the help of God — I strive to continue,” Pope Francis wrote.

 

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/08/25/benedict-xvi-says-he-felt-he-had-a-duty-to-resign-because-of-his-health/

SPIRITUAL COMBAT: A CALL TO ARMS

“Fight or die.” – Dom Lorenzo Scupoli

Perhaps one of the greatest temptations in the Catholic life is that of complacency. We go through the motions, attending Mass on Sunday and maybe going to a parish program or two, but the Faith never really penetrates deep into our souls. It remains a superficial reality; just another thing to do in our comfortable, civilized lives.

We love to complain about the problems in the Church—rending our garments over this bad bishop or this corrupt priest. We ask: Where are the saints of the modern Church? Where are the holy men and women who can be shining lights in this dark world? We lament the state of things, never realizing that it is us that God has called to be saints. It is we who must strive for sanctity as if our lives depended on it—because they do.

FIGHT FOR THE CROWN OF ETERNAL LIFE

Jesus Christ is calling you and me to rise above lukewarmness and mediocrity and to pursue greatness. He does not want us to muddle through the Christian life. He wants to fight nobly for the crown of eternal life. “Fight your way in at the narrow door,” he tells us, “There are many who will try and will not be able to enter.”

Now, realize that this spiritual combat does not necessarily mean grandiose outward actions. Most of us are not meant to found a religious order or to convert a far flung nation. The saints constantly tell us that holiness is found in sanctifying our everyday actions, however small they may be.

But the point is, no one coasts into heaven effortlessly. It doesn’t work that way. We have a powerful enemy who works day and night to destroy us. Every day we encounter temptations internal and external that, if consented to, will destroy our souls.

Men, a survey has revealed that 50%—that is 1 in 2—Christian men are addicted to pornography. If you think I am exaggerating the spiritual dangers, you are wrong. There is a war for your soul, and if you are not watchful, if you are not vigilant, if you are not intensely focused on the pursuit of holiness, you will fall away.

CHOOSE TODAY WHO YOU WILL SERVE

Holiness begins with a choice: God or the world. Whom will you serve? You can’t have it both ways. As with any war, there is no middle ground. You either fight or die.

“You cannot please both God and the world at the same time,” says St. John Vianney, “They are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions.”

In other words, you can’t pursue the world’s values and ideals while calling yourself a Christian and a Catholic. You can’t hold on to pet sins, abusing God’s mercy by asking his forgiveness,  all the while having no real intention to change.

TAKE UP YOUR CROSS

Christ is calling you to take up your Cross and follow him. Doing so will bring you more happiness and more joy than you can possibly imagine. But it will also cost you the comfort and ease the world promises.

“You are like crusaders united to fight against the world,” said St. Louis de Montfort, “not like Religious who retreat from the world lest they be overcome, but like brave and valiant warriors on the battlefield, who refuse to retreat or even yield an inch. Be brave and fight courageously.”

Men, if you’ve been mediocre, if you’ve been comfortably complacent, I challenge you today to follow Christ passionately, with all that you are and have. Clothe yourselves in the armor of God and take up the weapons of prayer and penance, calling on the powerful intercession of Our Lady, Help of Christians. Purpose in your heart to do battle for eternal life, and then “Be brave and fight courageously.” Your soul depends on it.

From:

Spiritual Combat: A Call to Arms