Today, in his last Angelus address, Pope Benedict XVI spoke this message to the Church:
“Dear brothers and sisters…The Lord is calling me to ‘climb the mountain,’ to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church, indeed, if God is asking me to do this it is so that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better suited to my age and my strength. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary: may she always help us all to follow the Lord Jesus in prayer and works of charity.”
Since this is the first time in 600 years that a Pope has abdicated the Chair of St. Peter, many Catholics have questions about how the process works.
“O Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme Pastor of your Church, we thank you for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI and the selfless care with which he has led us as Successor of Peter and your Vicar on earth. Good Shepherd, who founded your Church on the rock of Peter’s faith and have never left your flock untended, look with love upon us now, and sustain your Church in faith, hope and charity. Grant, Lord Jesus, in your boundless love for us, a new pope for your Church who will please you by his holiness and lead us faithfully to you, who are the same yesterday, today and forever. Amen.” —Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore
The Pope’s official retirement takes effect at 2pm (est) Feb. 28.