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Scott P. Richert

The Pope Resigns: Why February 11?

By February 13, 2013

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Lost in all of the media coverage and commentary concerning Pope Benedict XVI's impending resignation is an important question: Why did he choose to announce his resignation on February 11?Pope Benedict XVI signs the guest book at United Nations headquarters April 18, 2008, in New York City. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

There are the mundane answers, of course. The Holy Father was presiding over a consistory to name three new saints, and that meant that a significant number of cardinals were present. But the Pope set the date of the consistory, and as his own statement notes, "I have convoked you [the cardinals] 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." In other words, he knew what he intended to do at the time he called the consistory.

Likewise, considering how exhausting the Holy Father found Holy Week services last year, it's hardly surprising that, if he was intent on resigning, he would want to be out of office before Holy Week 2013, and, given the importance of Holy Week, he would want his successor in office by then. But that still doesn't answer the question: Why announce his resignation on February 11? Is there any significance to the date?

As I've noted many times in the past, Pope Benedict is very much aware of the symbolism of certain dates. He signed his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum on June 29, 2007, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, because the revival of the Traditional Latin Mass was a step toward unity with the liturgically traditional Eastern Orthodox, and the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, like the Feast of Saint Andrew (November 30), has long been a day of special outreach to the Orthodox. On the same date, he authorized the public release of "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church"—a document I remain convinced will be seen by history as one of the most important of his pontificate, because it lays the groundwork for all future ecumenical efforts.

Likewise, in 2009, when Pope Benedict signed the Apostolic Constitution that paved the way for entire Anglican congregations to return to Rome, he chose October 20—the Feast of Saint Paul of the Cross—to do so. Saint Paul of the Cross spent most of his life praying for the conversion of England, and the order that he founded, the Passionists, are credited with the revival of Catholicism in England in the 19th century. (See Saint Paul of the Cross and the Conversion of England for more details.)

So it's natural to assume that Pope Benedict may have chosen to make his announcement on February 11 for a reason. February 11 is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, commemorating the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette Soubirous. Benedict's devotion to the Mother of God is well known but also to be expected in a pope, so choosing to make the announcement on a Marian feast would perhaps in itself be unremarkable.

On the other hand, Joseph Ratzinger was born on April 16, the Feast of St. Bernadette Soubirous, and the apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes has a particular importance to the papacy. On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX, in the papal bull Ineffabilis Deus, had formally proclaimed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. And on March 25, 1858 (the Feast of the Annunciation), Our Lady of Lourdes confirmed Pius IX's action by declaring to Saint Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Conception." In light of the First Vatican Council's later (1870) definition of the doctrine of papal infallibility, Pius's action is seen as an exercise of papal infallibility.

In other words, if Pope Benedict did choose the date of his announcement for its symbolic value, he likely intended it to reaffirm the office and the authority of the papacy—knowing, of course, that some would try to portray his resignation as undermining that office and its authority.

All of this is speculation, of course, but it fits in well with Pope Benedict's other uses of symbolic dates throughout his pontificate.

Now, what about February 28, the date on which the Holy Father's resignation will become effective? Your guess is as good as mine. If you see some symbolism in that date, please share your thoughts in the comments. Keep in mind, though, that Benedict's use of symbolic dates has been confined to the liturgical calendar; in other words, significant events in secular history that have occurred on February 28 are unlikely to have had any bearing on his decision. And, in the end, it may simply be that the end of the month seemed appropriate.

(Pope Benedict XVI signs the guest book at United Nations headquarters April 18, 2008, in New York City. Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

More on Pope Benedict's Resignation:

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February 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm
(1) Laureen says:

All and all, I found the timing very odd. Why not right after the Christmas season so there would be enough time to have a new pope by Lent? Though, that might have been close since it was such a short ordinary time period.

Or why not after Easter? Unless there was an urgency that we aren’t aware of.

So I suppose symbolic dates could be the reason. However, given that this is an act that is basically very practical, it’s odd that his date wasn’t all that practical.

February 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm
(2) Scott P. Richert says:

The timing seems practical to me. If the conclave begins on March 1 or soon thereafter, the new pope should be elected and installed before Holy Week. That means that Pope Benedict presided at Ash Wednesday Mass today—an important Mass that would have seemed odd not to have a pope preside at—and then, by the next time that the eyes of the world would normally turn to Rome for liturgical celebrations—that is, Holy Week and Easter—a new pope will be in place.

February 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm
(3) Mack says:

That’s an interesting analysis. I think it’s true that Benedict is very sensitive to the dates. However, my guess is that he chose it because Lourdes and St Bernadette is now associated with the World Day of Prayer for the Sick–this may be an oblique way of indicating that he’s physically more ill than the Vatican is saying publicly. I don’t think he’s going to be alive much longer–not that I wish for that, but he would only resign for a very serious reason. I just don’t think that “feeling his age” is serious enough.
God bless you.

February 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm
(4) Nalwadda says:

My biggest surprise is the pope’s message for this year regarding strengthening our faith and he does something that has tried the faith of many. It seems to me he was preparing us and for those who took the message seriously and prayed for stronger faith, I think got less shocked. There are many lessons to learn in the resignation regarding our faith. We continue praying for the church

February 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm
(5) Debbie says:

I think the date of Feb 28th may have more to do with the election of a new pope: Given that the conclave must begin between March 15 and March 20 – and he would have known that – that it makes me think of St. Joseph and all the novenas that would be in effect during that week.

St. Joseph disappeared before Jesus’ ministry started…
Pope Benedict entrusted the Church to the supreme Pastor – Jesus…
Maybe that is why Joseph left the picture too?
Mary stayed with Jesus — as the Church stays with Jesus —

Also – with all the euthanizing of our elderly, demoralizing the elderly and homebound, people with disabilities, abortion, etc… it is beautiful to see our Pope demonstrate the power and dignity of the elderly age even when the body’s mind and physical strength aren’t what they were…
He can pray and suffer — and isn’t that the power of terminal illness, the natural aging process, paralysis, disability…the power of the suffering to save souls…he is going to elevate that — so I don’t know who designated Feb 11 at World day of the Sick but I find that greatly significant as well.

I am no theologian and this all may be a stretch but it is fun to think about — he certainly did think of it…or if he didn’t — Our Lord has.

February 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm
(6) Norman says:

Hi Scott Why Feb 28? Certainly I agree with you that Pope Benedict would like to see the new Pope installed before “Easter week” so that takes us to Holy Thursday March 28.
According to what I have read, the Conclave will take place on or about March 15. Interesting enough we have some important feast days on the Calender between March 15 and Holy Thursday March 28 – being:
March 17 St Patrick –
March 19 St Joseph –
March 25 The Feast of the Assumption

It seems all very well planned … what say ye?

February 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm
(7) Debbie says:

And….Pope Benedict’s name is Joseph.
Maybe our church is about to enter a new era like it did after St. Joseph disappeared and Jesus began his ministry with Mary by his side.

New Evangelization :-)

February 15, 2013 at 2:02 pm
(8) Debbie says:

I also can’t help but notice that though there was controversy around Celestine (even to the point of Dante maybe referring to him as in hell), his body is incorrupt — I gather with a glass coffin — maybe someone can confirm this for me)… His grave was untouched by an earthquake…
Though there was controversy, he was canonized in 1313…
This is 2013, 700 years later…can’t help but notice the number 7 and 13.
13 makes me think of the Pieta — station 13 when Mary is holding Jesus in her arms after he has died (in controversy and confusion).
What did it feel like in the world that day? With the darkness, the earthquake, the Messiah lying dead in the arms of his mother?
I wonder what we’re in store for – and given Revelations — at some point we will think all is lost – the church destroyed…like maybe the Apostles did? But it won’t be lost just like it wasn’t at the time of Jesus’ death.
Jesus’ shadow was likely seen in Hell but not from refusal but from the greatest of sacrifices. Celestine’s body is incorrupt — certainly not so if he wasn’t a saint…and Pope Benedict…dear Pope Benedict.
The end of the story is the triumph of the Church and of Jesus.
And doesn’t Pope Benedict point us to that with all of his Books on Jesus and his Year of Faith which we now are in…
And Pope John Paul II – Be Not Afraid. And Pope Benedicit – “God is Love” The end is a happy one- but we must trust in God’s love, have faith, pray, and suffer.

February 15, 2013 at 2:20 pm
(9) Scott P. Richert says:

Regarding February 11 being the World Day of Prayer for the Sick, I’m skeptical that Benedict would have chosen to announce his resignation on that day for that reason. Why? Because it would make the symbolism all about him, and not about the office (as my supposition about it being the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes makes it).

In other words, it would run completely counter to the humility that seems to have led him to take this action in the first place.

February 15, 2013 at 2:24 pm
(10) Scott P. Richert says:

Debbie, I’m almost certain that Celestine’s body is not incorrupt. It would be very unusual to place a death mask on an incorruptible, and from the pictures I’ve seen, Celestine clearly has a metal death mask on.

It’s very common for saints’ bodies to be placed in glass coffins for veneration, even when those bodies are not incorrupt. I saw quite a few on my recent trip to Rome and to Florence, as well as a couple of incorruptibles.

February 15, 2013 at 2:28 pm
(11) Scott P. Richert says:

Norman, I think Benedict wants a new pope installed before Holy Week, not Easter week, and that means that the new pope would celebrate Palm Sunday Mass.

Yes, it’s true that Saint Patrick’s and Saint Joseph’s feasts will fall after the earliest opening date of the conclave, but that’s more “loose” than the kind of symbolism Benedict has employed in the past. He signed documents on significant dates, and released them on significant dates; he didn’t deal with ranges of dates.

FYI: Tthe Feast of the Annunciation this year this year will not be March 25, but April 8, because March 25 falls during Holy Week.

February 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm
(12) Scott P. Richert says:

Debbie, I think if the Holy Father were trying to use the symbolism of Saint Joseph, he would have announced his resignation on March 19, with the resignation effective sometime after Easter, which would have given the cardinals time to elect a new pope before Pentecost, the next big feast.

Still, I like your discussion of the parallels between Saint Joseph and Pope Benedict.

As for your speculation about Celestine’s canonization in 1313, there’s no precedent in Benedict’s actions for that. He has chosen particular dates for their symbolism; he has not engaged in (for lack of a better word) numerology.

But you are right: “The end of the story is the triumph of the Church and of Jesus.” And Pope Benedict certainly believes that, as every true Christian must.

February 15, 2013 at 3:03 pm
(13) Debbie says:

The World Day of the Sick is a feast day of the Roman Catholic Church which was instituted on May 13, 1992 by Pope John Paul II. Beginning on February 11, 1993, it is celebrated every year on the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes, for all believers seeks to be “a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering”. [1]

May 13 is the Feast of Fatima – the day that begins the celebration of a series of dates of apparitions of Mary to 3 peasant children.

On May 12 and 13, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima and strongly stated his acceptance of the supernatural origin of the Fátima apparitions. On the first day, the Pope arrived at the Chapel of Apparitions to pray and gave a Golden Rose to Our Lady of Fátima “as a homage of gratitude from the Pope for the marvels that the Almighty has worked through you in the hearts of so many who come as pilgrims to this your maternal home”. (this is from wikipedia).

The rose is blessed on the fourth Sunday of Lent, Lætare Sunday (hence also known as Rose Sunday), when rose-coloured vestments and draperies substitute for the penitential purple, symbolizing hope and joy in the midst of Lenten solemnity. (wikipedia)

The conclave could begin in that week after the 4th Sunday of Lent…as Pope Benedict talks about Sunday being the beginning…

Interesting stuff. Thanks for making us think about it – it has been fun :-)

February 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm
(14) Debbie says:

Just curious – who are the 3 saints that they were meeting about?

February 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm
(15) EKM says:

Not that it means anything to anyone else anymore but Feb. 11 is the day that my soul decided to enter this world in it’s just grown physical body. Feb. 11 is my birthday.

February 15, 2013 at 6:30 pm
(16) Debbie says:

Re: World Day of Sick –you are right – it wouldn’t be about him but — it elevates the homebound, the suffering, the neglected and forgotten…which is not about him but about the rest of us and about Jesus and the suffering servant – what Jesus did at the Last Supper in the Washing of the Feet. How we can do little things with great love — he isn’t going out on the top of the world but as the rest of us do in our hidden lives — an example of prayer and suffering.

Thanks for the info about incorrupt. That is helpful info.

Happy Birthday EKM :-) I noticed lots of personally significant things about the details as well — Like we all even in our tiniest of ways participate in the salvation of the world — it is amazing to feel a part of it all.
Jan 13, 2013 was the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Feb 13, 2005 – Lucia (from Fatima) died at age 97
Feb 13, 2013, Pope Benedict’s Last Mass and Ash Wed.
On St. Joseph — the novena (correct me if I am wrong because I can never remember if the novena ends on the feast or the day before) for St. Joseph would be March 10th which is the 4th Sunday – the day the Golden Roses will be blessed (like the rose Pope Benedict place at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine May 13, 2010) cool, eh?
March 25th Feast of Annunciation got bumped to first week of April which I thought was interesting since the quake of L;Aquila was first week of April — and you mentioned in your article March 25 and the Declaration of the Immaculate Conception of Mary…cool.
Is the earthquake the reason Pope Benedict went when he did or was that trip already planned? It just gives goosebumps to think about nature being tied in with the movement of the Pope — esp. with that Lightening at the Basilica…again, cool.

Fun article — we’re all having fun with it… :-)

February 15, 2013 at 7:14 pm
(17) Debbie says:

BTW – When Pope Benedict was here in America – he was here over his birthday and it looks like he bestowed the Golden Rose to Mary at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary…on his birthday…how awesome.

Pope Benedict has given all of his roses at Marian Shrines…

Our Lady of Roio Aquila (after earthquake), April 28, 2009 — also received a Golden Rose. very. cool.

February 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm
(18) Robert Yezak says:

Why so confident a new Pope is installed by Easter, we didn’t get the first one until after the original Holy Week and Easter, isn’t it at least possible it could take longer ? Historically speaking hasn’t it usually been somewhat of an unpredictable process. Speaking of being predictable and the first Pope, Peter the apostle, do you have any comments or insight Scott on the prophecy of St. Malachy? I haven’t heard anyone at all mentioning this and it seems to be at least a relevant sign of the times . I am referring this to you because I appreciate your insight and I am suspicious that you may have an interest in this aspect of the Church as you have diligently shown an appreciation for significance of the dates the Holy Father has used.

I see it as this: Papa says to children, I am leaving for a while it may get scarry…more than ever have faith my little Church Militant and together we advance as family. Sums up Dad’s work here for now, my time is done and you may not see me …have faith.

or am I just being silly?

in all sincerity, thanks Scott!

February 15, 2013 at 10:29 pm
(19) Mary says:

870 on 2/28 8th Ecumenical Council ends in Constantinople.

February 16, 2013 at 2:02 am
(20) La Pucelle Consacree says:

In addition to those symbolic ones suggested here, the most likely reason(s) appears to be found in this brief video: http://youtu.be/kvtxMn52JhY

February 16, 2013 at 10:24 am
(21) Sean says:

There are currently 118 cardinals under the age of 80 in the college of cardinals. However, 4 of them will turn 80 by the end of March and thus would be ineligible to vote in a Papal election. They could vote depending upon the date of the conclave.
Since Pope Benedict XVI changed the rules requiring a pope to be elected with two-thirds majority, 4 additional votes of these cardinals could make a difference. That could be the reason why the Pope decided to resign on 28th February.

February 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm
(22) kim says:

It was noted that the Pope took great interest in the Basilica of Aqila where St Celestine lies, and the events surrounding his visit, the earthquake which destroyed all except St Celestines area of repose, surely we could draw parallels between Our Lady of Lourdes Day, and the message she delivered the world, through the medium of St Bernadette. Then the Pope’s intention to resign, a man who felt too humble to be Pope (parallel) but who has been sent the most trying of times, (God only tries those who are most able/deserving), who now wishes to resign, I say God Bless You and Keep You. As for being a coward, it seems to me that a coward would have resigned when the scandal hit, not dealt with the fall out and then manifestly cleared a free space, so that a scandal free reign of a New Pope, who he hopes will bring Anglicans and many others, back into the holy fold… surely the scene is set. I hope he is canonized, in due course for surely he has dealt with the most trying of times with kindness dignity fortitude courage and humility and this of a man who did not feel equal to merely being Il Papa…

February 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm
(23) Noosty says:

It is the end of days.

February 16, 2013 at 5:05 pm
(24) bmarie says:

Pope Hilarius (not kidding) is honored on that day by the catholic church; he supposedly died on that day……check out this wiki link

February 16, 2013 at 7:13 pm
(25) Bridget Carruth says:

Why did the Pope resign? Because of my blogs at http:// bridgetcarruthministries.blogspot.com, and because I refused to take the Papacy’s bribe that came through Mayor Bloomberg. The blogs are still being written, edited, and linked, but there is enough there for those who are interested. See especially September 2012 “Roman Papacy Overthrows America.”

February 16, 2013 at 10:46 pm
(26) TruthinChurch says:

Thank You Robert Yezak ,

I was wondering same. as little girl in big world what can i do ? holy father sayit …..live year of faith, Daddy knowin what goin on WITH CHURCH MILITANT advance …..we are one …..live it!!!!!

February 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm
(27) Ed says:

I think the Holy Father chose Feb. 28 because the following day is 3/1 – which will be the first day without a Pope —- Three Divine Persons in One Being — 3-1.

May God bless Pope Benedict!!

February 18, 2013 at 8:08 am
(28) Clara Schoppe says:

I believe the Holy Father called for us to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church during the Year of Faith, and even gave us a guide for the readings. Our family has been following these readings faithfully every evening before our family rosary. When i read, on the morning of Feb 11 that the Holy Father was resigning, I was very comforted by that day’s assigned reading in the Catechism, 880 -887 (the college of bishops and the pope). Perhaps, our Holy Father, being a good father, was preparing us for his departure, and the date of this reading which he had assigned us, was the most appropriate, and would give the most comfort to those who were following it. I know all the subsequent readings this week have also given us strength during this time.

February 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm
(29) Rickie says:

@Sean: You’re correct in saying that there are 118 cardinals under the age of 80 as of the moment. But you are mistaken in saying that 4 will be reduced to that number as they turn 80 by end of March. According to Universi Dominici Gregis, only those cardinals who turn 80 before the See of Peter becomes vacant become ineligible to vote in the succeeding conclave which means, under the present circumstances, only Cardinal Lubomyr Husar becomes ineligible as his birthday is on Feb 26. You must be referring to Cardinals Kasper, Poletto and Sandoval who turn 80 on March 5, 18 and 28 respectively. The three are eligible because they turn 80 during the sede vacante. Read more on Universi Dominici Gregis if you don’t believe me.

February 20, 2013 at 6:58 am
(30) Julianne says:

Historically February is the feast of St. Hilary, pope from 461 to 468
and guardian of Church unity.
To replace a man like St. Leo the Great was not easy, but the next pope was a man after Leo’s heart, the archdeacon Hilary.
Very appropriate date, it evokes the memory of Blessed John Paul II the Great and Benedict XVI’s role as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before his election to the papacy.

February 20, 2013 at 7:21 pm
(31) Rita Smith says:

If the Anglican Church joins the Catholic Church, I will leave the Anglican Church – as a former Catholic who walked away from the Catholic Church at the beginning of the revelations of child abuse, I never want to be a part of this religion again.

February 20, 2013 at 8:57 pm
(32) Scott P. Richert says:

Rita, if you think clerical sexual abuse is confined to the Catholic Church, you’re rather naive.

February 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm
(33) Katie says:

Ultimately, who knows why this happened now except that Our Lord ordained it, with or without Pope Benedict’s full understanding. Pope Benedict’s interest in significant dates may or may not have been a tool that God used to shepherd him and us. Though, I appreicate Scott’s thoughts (and, his continual good work).

Robert (18), good point. It seems quite possible that we wouldn’t have a pope by Holy Week/Easter. …Also, though, Pope Benedict would not purposely leave us because there is a time of crisis. I think, in the whole scheme of things, this is a time of calm, and maybe we won’t have a pope by Easter, but I can’t see a new one being too long in coming. I also loved Pope Benedict’s words to us at his resignation, “…Let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ.” ( http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=123985 )

Nalwadda (4), at first this tried my faith some also, but then I realized that Pope Benedict is a prayerful man, atuned to the voice of the Holy Spirit and when that Spirit put it on Pope Benedict’s heart to let go of his office, he was humble enough to let go, knowing that it was time to step out of the way. It took a lot of trust in God to accept this, despite its unconventionality and all the chattering that would happen in the media.

Also, I admire Pope Benedict’s short-notice, even though I don’t like it. Thousands have packed St. Peter’s this week to say good-bye to our shepherd. Would a humble man really want to drag on all the fanfare?

I am excited, because though I am very grateful for Pope Benedict’s papacy, his retiring means that God wants to give us a new charism, a new gift, for His Church. Who will we get?!

February 21, 2013 at 6:31 pm
(34) Deborah Dills says:

Here is your answer as to WHY the Pope resigned on the 11th day.

“The numbers 3, 7, 9,11,13, 33, 39. Any multiple of these numbers have special meaning to the Illuminati .Occultists the world over believe that, once a symbol is created, it acquires power of its own, and more power is generated when such symbol(s) are created without the profane [uninitiated] knowing about it. And, the greatest power of all is created in the symbol(s) if the uninitiated NEVER discover that the symbol exists. MASONIC SYMBOLS OF POWER IN THEIR SEAT OF POWER — WASHINGTON, D.C.

The Pope went into hidding because he is being charged with sex crimes throughout the world and the Vatican is protecting him from Prosecution. Period.

February 22, 2013 at 10:13 am
(35) Kobina Sam says:

we need to watch out for these dates,they really are significant and we don’t have to over look them and also the numbers ie like the 7,13 etc i believe the catholic church is found in Rev.13 and we are in the year 2013.why is the pope resigning on 28 Feb. well if anybody cares to know that is the day our LORD JESUS CHRIST came to earth as the lion of the tribe of Judah to redeemed HIS bride ie the second coming of the LORD Feb 28 1963 ie 50years ago.

Well the coming of the Lord is here,it time for the bride to go HOME,SO GET READY!

February 22, 2013 at 11:04 pm
(36) Katie says:

I would hardly call the Vatican Gardens “hiding”. I’m sure the Italians could find him there. And, using numbers as gods, whether good or bad ones, doesn’t do much for me.

March 1, 2013 at 11:21 am
(37) SURJA says:

Historically February 11 is very important to Catholic church, you may notice the lateran treaty of 1929. The Lateran Treaty 1929 was one of the historic agreements made in 1929 between the Italy and the Roman Catholic Church signed on February 11, 1929 to establish the Vatican city as an independent sovereign enclave within Rome. This treaty was an attempt to end the conflict between the Italian state and the Roman Catholic Church. On February 11 2013 Pope Benedict XVI, surprised the world by saying he will resign at the end of the month “because of advanced age.”

Since the establishment of Lateran Treaty 1929 until today, the Vatican City has seven kings. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. (Revelation 13:1,2)…..Read http://sureshjoseph2009.blogspot.com/#!/2013/02/are-you-coming-one.html

March 1, 2013 at 4:05 pm
(38) joann schlachter says:

Let me start by saying that I truly love Benedict XVI emeritus. Maybe because he is of German descent as am I, or because of his liturgical reforms which I was so happy to see and literally prayed and hoped for, for 40 years, but maybe mostly it was his humility and loving care of all of us, his flock and more importantly the Master’s flock.
I looked up the saint for Feb. 28. St. Oswald.There are some very interesting connections. He can be found in Alban Butler’s lives of the saints, many different editions. St. Oswald interestingly enough was a Benedictine monk.His uncle was St. Odo of Canterbury. St. Oswald was part of a movement to revive monasticism & ecclesiastical discipline which in light of all the abuse scandals may be necessary in our own time. he was Bishop of Worcester &Archbishop of York. Much of his work involved founding monasteries and theological training.He died from overwork while literally washing the feet of the poor as was a daily custom of his. This saint like our Benedict XVI was dedicated to working with faithful clergy in England. In light of Benedict XVI’s decree for the return of the faithful Anglicans to the fold of the Catholic church this past January 1st. by his creation of the new ordinariate, maybe he chose this day for St. Oswald’s intercession to help guide us to the next chapter in the life of the church for the new Anglican returnees and the gifts that they will bring back and for the work of all ecumenical outreaches in the life of the church yet to come. May God continue to bless our loving Benedict XVI emeritus and his new successor. I joyfully await a new Papem as I tearfully say goodby to this Papum. Remember everyone that he is a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek and therefore is still a holy father to us. LONG LIVE POPE BENEDICT XVI emeritus.

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