In a move that shocked Christendom, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has announced his intention to step down from the Papacy at the end of this month. In his address, Pope Benedict cited ill health as the primary factor: “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 recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.”
Speaking on behalf of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, His Eminence Cardinal Renato Raffael Martino, Honorary President of the Institute stated:
“I am most saddened to witness the Holy Father renounce and step down from the Papacy. During his reign, Pope Benedict XVI has reached out to all parts of the world, to Christian and non-Christian alike. He has reminded us of the infinite love of Christ in his scholarly efforts, and has worked towards restoring the majesty of the Church.
Pope Benedict’s words and deeds have been a true inspiration to the Dignitatis Humanae Institute; in his peace-day message just two months ago, the Holy Father urged all to defend human life and dignity, from abortion, euthanasia and religious persecution; “those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions.” We shall continue to defend and promote this truth, and shall continue to be guided by the words of Pope Benedict.
With this decision, the Holy Father was guided, as always, by the desire to place the good of our Holy Church first. We must continue to pray for the Pope, that the Holy Spirit will preserve him for the tasks to come. I would also ask all Catholics to pray for the Conclave, who shall be entrusted to elect the 266th successor to St Peter. I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will guide them with wisdom and clarity for this most high responsibility.”