Now he surprises us again. Not for six hundred years has a pope stepped aside. He has done so quickly and unexpectedly. While his decision cannot have been sudden. The sudden effectiveness–he will be gone within a few weeks–is brilliant. There is scarcely time for the world’s cardinals to book their plane tickets–much less to be politicking and planning how to get the white soutane. (Rev. Dwight Longenecker)
Benedict XVI has marked his pontificate by humility. If anything, he has tried to depersonalized the use of authority, even that uniquely personal authority, the Petrine Office. Yet we must always remember that the “person” of the Papal ministry is St. Peter, who with his successors acts in the person of Christ. The papacy is a lived authority and a living authority and one that must respond to the needs of the Age. It is natural that we love the concrete that we know, and love the particular character of our popes. And we must do our best to accept that like a humble and adored teacher, Benedict now forces on his students a hard lesson: that the teacher should never be the focus of our final attention and love. (William Fahey)
The bear with the pack, which replaced the horse or, more probably, St. Corbinian’s mule, becoming, against his will, his pack animal, was that not, and is it not an image of what I should be and of what I am? (Cardinal Ratzinger)
In these final days of his pontificate, we will pray for his health and offer thanks to God for his extraordinary ministry as Pope. And with Catholics around the world, we will pray to the Holy Spirit for the Cardinals who will soon elect his successor. (Archbishop Sartain)
Those who met him, heard him speak and read his clear, profound writings found themselves moved and changed. In all he said and did he urged people everywhere to know and have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
The occasion of his resignation stands as an important moment in our lives as citizens of the world. Our experience impels us to thank God for the gift of Pope Benedict. Our hope impels us to pray that the College of Cardinals under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit choose a worthy successor to meet the challenges present in today’s world.