Pope Benedict XVI announced he will officially retire February 28th, 2013.
As the Pope’s announcement (see below) indicates the Pope carefully discerned his conscience before making his decision.
It is now time to keep the Pope in our prayers and to express to him that we love him and that we know he only wants what is best for the Church.
To read more about the Pope’s retirement click on the links below:
Vatican website: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2013/february/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20130211_declaratio_en.html
Catholic News Agency: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-benedict-xvi-announces-his-retirment/
Catholic Culture: http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=17035
Catholic News Service: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1300560.htm
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
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. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
BENEDICTUS PP XVI” [http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-benedict-xvi-announces-his-retirment/]
Words for thought:
“Pope Benedict had long said it would be appropriate for a pope to resign for the good of the church if the pontiff felt he were unable to physically bear the burden of the papacy.
In his book-length interview, “The Light of the World,” with German journalist Peter Seewald, the pope said, “If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.”" http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1300560.htm
Two days ago, the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Arizona (in conjunction with the ACLU) filed a federal lawsuit against state officials in response to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer and her supporter’s efforts to cut off taxpayer funding for abortion providers. Planned Parenthood, which receives hundreds of millions of federal, state, and local tax dollars and somewhere around $800 million in revenue from abortion services every year, feels it deserves to stay on the dole despite the controversial nature of it’s services. One can’t help but wonder why Planned Parenthood deserves a few extra hundred million every year from the government if it is a “non-profit” service organization with “powerful grassroots support.”
For more information, look here
If you have been following the news in the U.S., a series of incredibly severe thunderstorms rampaged the northern Virginia area my parents and I inhabit yesterday leaving over 3 million people without power and a few people dead. In fact, just minutes after finishing my article yesterday on the National Right to Life Convention – Day 2, I heard a great snap, saw the lights flicker, and then watched as all the power in my house went down in a matter of seconds. Outside, the winds raged and the thunder flashed as we called the electric company and realized that the whole area was out of power. Despite the rampant destruction of precious utilities, I was still able to make it out to the convention for a third day of fascinating and informative talks.
This time, when I entered the convention hall, the flags were gone, and the tone of the entire congregation was one of an academic setting to educate and prepare for the fight for Congress. Burke Valch, a leading expert on ObamaCare, gave an incredibly clear and objective academic lecture on the details of Obama’s anti-life campaign: to ensure the “rationing of health care” and specific “quality standards” for all American health care in the future. In other words, the government will now take over the way the everyday American spends his money on saving his life; the government will now determine which lives to save, and the limits of such life-saving measures.
Please take some time to educate yourself with the tools available here. I highly encourage it, especially since these new measures will, within the next few years, highly impact every American, irrespective of his or her opinion on the matter, age, culture, gender, political party, or even level of wealth. The measures will decrease spending on health care, while also decreasing the level of health care everyone receives, and finally, increasing the amount of government involvement in peoples’ lives. Sometimes quoted as being the largest tax ever imposed on American citizens by any President, we as the youth inheriting these laws need to get the facts of what exactly is involved so we can make proper judgment about our involvement or opposition to such acts.
The second talk I attended was an incredible outlook on “Religious Liberty and Pro-Life Conversion: The HHS Mandate, Solidarity, and Christian Witness,” by another family friend, Dr. David Franks. A talk centered on truth and rooted in love, Franks formulated the ground work for the pro-life, pro-family, pro-religious liberty movement, and explained how a simple perversion of the truth of God’s love for us led to the opposition, a pro-death movement. The “French” Libertarian movement centers on the materialistic, elite cultivation of self-gratification without God, and can lead to complete totalitarianism. The correct form of libertarianism, according to Dr. Franks, however, is that of the “American” revolution, liberty within the liberty of God, a theocentric liberalism founded on the Gospel of life as Blessed John Paul II so gracefully puts it. The “French” Libertarian movement, on the other hand, reduces not to realism, but to mere ideology. For example, as with the case of the HHS Mandate, Catholics are forced against their conscious to support contraceptive laws, something that goes against our ideology. If we as Catholics do not accept this ideology, we are simply shut down from operating businesses, as the Catholic hospitals will have to do if the HHS Mandate stands.
Dr. Franks went on to mention more detailed information regarding the liberal Christian movement, advocating such “French” Libertarian notions, and then he ended with a beautiful discussion on the “heroism of love,” solidarity, which requires a pro-life conversion of never forgetting the weakest. Love demands greatness, and there is “something in us, [which] wants greatness”. I call that little “thing” inside us, “creation”, the fact that we were created in the image and likeness of God, that we were Made for More. We are called to share in the communion of the Trinity, in the personification of love, in the personhood of Jesus Christ, as Bob Dylan so aptly puts it, “Love minus zero / No limit”.
The third talk I attended was about the “Continuing the Escalating Struggle to Stop Abortion in the World”, by the famous Jeanne Head, Raimund Rojas, and MCCL Go!’s Scott Pischbach. Raimund began by describing some of the history of the movement in the world, from the genesis of the UN at a church service in 1941 to the modern day pro-death movement leaders, Margaret Polack, Dr. Susan Rice, Peggy Kerry, and Melanne Verveer, the “Abortion Ambassador” to the world. Jeanne Head brought to life the primary mission of anti-life movement to enact language in UN bills (not present yet), which would make the right to abortion a fundamental human right worldwide. As the UN becomes “an ideological tool used to promote bad policies”, Head and her colleagues have led a fairly successive defense to keep such language out of the UN documents; however, UN agencies have frequently falsely claimed such language to be evident, sometimes successively changing the minds of ignorant public leaders through simple creative mentioning of false facts over and over again until people finally just accept them as truth. Call it UN filibustering, such practice is raging to the anti-life movement to forward their pro-death policies. Scott Pischbach ended with an overview of the latest “abortion cancer developments” in the world: in Kenya as the US spent $10 million to help legalize abortion “for health reasons”, or in Rwanda, or in Morocco, or Zambia, where the story is just the same time and again – “Many women are dying from illegal abortions [this number is usually made up] let’s change the law to help prevent them from dying”. In Turkey, when the Prime Minister Recep, Jayyip Erdogan stood up and denounced abortion, countless fabricated protests of radically charged feminists across the nation convinced him to renounce his denouncement. There are many examples, of the underhanded fight to make the killing of millions of poor babies legal in countries where moral values once ruled, raging our world, and we as the youth need to stand up and say, NO! to these obvious undermining of the very laws which govern our world. We need to say, NO! we won’t allow rich elitists to kill off the poor just because they are poor. We need to say, NO! we won’t let the future youth of this world, our future friends and colleagues, our future students and apprentices, innovators and entrepreneurs to be killed off by such modern day eugenicists. We the youth of this world to need to stop being so gullible to the falsities they feed us, sometimes led by money, sometimes by power, or any number of pleasurable leaches our fleshes attract. We need to ask questions, seek the facts, find the truth, listen to our elders, give merit to the wise, and respect the very values, which founded the greatest nations on Earth, and the greatest nation ever created, whose founder was none other than the Son of God.
Dutiful to responsibilities at home relating to the loss of power, I had to leave the convention early, but I was able to attend one final session, cohosted by family friend Wayne Cockfield and familiar face Jeanne Head. While fairly repetitious to the last talk, they made a few good points. Jeanne noted that in the West, the movement is towards population control (“eugenics with a passport”), exported to poor countries under the guise of “development” needed desperately by third world countries. Secondly, Wayne related a long story of his audacious adventure at the UN, how the EU officials kicked him out for being too outspoken and for stirring up trouble with the other disabled delegates (sounds familiar to a particular Biblical Son, doesn’t it?). Finally, Jeanne noted some San Jose documents which claim that the UN cannot claim any fundamental right to abortion.
If you’ve ever stood for anything in your life, then at some point, you’ve probably debated a hot-button social issue. In America, abortion and gay marriage are the perennial controversial topics on which people refuse to agree to disagree—which is good, because they’re important. Debating and discussing these issues, however, is intellectually tiring and emotionally draining.
A successful conversation requires that both sides communicate effectively not only by means of solid evidence and logic, but also with mutual respect and understanding. Unfortunately, widespread ignorance and emphasis on rhetoric have made a challenging task considerably more daunting, especially in the case of the current marriage debate.
Fellow youth and talented blogger Marc Barnes provides remarkable insight on these challenges in a recent post titled “4 Ways the Gay Marriage Debate Has Been Rigged.” It’s a must-read for anyone who has felt overwhelmed trying to defend marriage between one man and one woman, since understanding the characteristics of the marriage debate can help one see things from a fresh perspective. Barnes regularly writes about social issues, and I highly recommend his blog to our American and international readers alike.