We leave to others the many good comments and evaluations of Pope Benedict’s decision to abdicate the papacy, the first pope to do so in over 600 years. We make our own, the bulk of commentary given by Roberto de Mattei (found here) in which he points out that analogies to the time of either Celestine V, or Gregory XII, whose circumstances were not similar at all to this. In the case of Celestine, he was almost dragged to the Chair of Peter in the first place, an office he never wanted, and only accepted with extreme reluctance. In the case of Gregory XII, the presence of two entrenched anti-popes, and the Great Schism in which the Church found herself, made an abdication the logical choice for the good of the Church – that she may have an undisputed pastor.
So, while agreeing with Mr. de Mattei on the shocking nature of this act, and the various questions it raises, we also make our own the clear statement by the General House of the Society of St. Pius X, which states, as follows:
The Society of Saint Pius X has learned of the sudden announcement about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, which will be effective on the evening of February 28, 2013. Despite the doctrinal differences that were still evident on the occasion of the theological talks held between 2009 and 2011, the Society of Saint Pius X does not forget that the Holy Father had the courage to recall the fact that the Traditional Mass had never been abrogated, and to do away with the canonical sanctions that had been imposed on its bishops following their consecration in 1988. It is not unaware of the opposition that these decisions have stirred up, obliging the pope to justify himself to the bishops of the whole world. The Society expresses its gratitude to him for the strength and the constancy that he has shown toward it in such difficult circumstances, and assures him of its prayers for the time that he wishes to devote from now on to recollection.
Following its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the Society of Saint Pius X reaffirms its attachment to eternal Rome, Mother and Instructress [Mater et Magistra] of Truth, and to the See of Peter. It reiterates its desire to make its contribution, according to its abilities, to resolving the grave crisis that is shaking the Church. It prays that, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the cardinals of the next conclave may elect the pope who, according to the will of God, will work for the restoration of all things in Christ (Eph 1:10).
Menzingen, February 11, 2013,
on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes”
We too offer our gratitude to the Pope of Summorum Pontificum, whose willingness to both free the Traditional Mass and do away with the canonical sanctions imposed upon the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, were undoubted acts of justice. In fact, the seeming weakness of the Holy Father seems due in no small part to the irrational persecution of the Holy Father by so many modernists who wished these injustices to remain enshrined forever.
But what now? We find ourselves in the peculiar situation (unknown in over 600 years) of knowing that an election will soon be held for a new Successor of Peter, knowing at the same time that the Sovereign Pontiff is still very much alive. How do we act in such a circumstance?
The first, and obvious point is that we must continue to pray. Not only do we owe prayers for our current Holy Father, but we also owe prayers for the upcoming election. It may be easy to neglect one for the other, to remember to pray for the upcoming conclave, neglecting the fact that we still have a Holy Father, at least until Thursday at 8pm. On the flip side, the continued presence of Pope Benedict at various normal events may have distracted us from our very real obligation to pray, as Bishop Fellay pointed out, that the cardinal electors will hear the voice of the Holy Ghost and make themselves docile to His inspirations, so that a pontiff may be raised up who, “according to the will of God, will work for the restoration of all things in Christ.”
It has been said, wisely, that the lack of restoration in the Church is due to our sins and lack of prayers. Let us turn the tide with this papal election, beseeching God to restore to the Church her own patrimony.
To that end, there is an interesting site (not that we agree with all of the text on the site) which gives a practical way to accomplish this. The site, www.adoptacardinal.org, has you sign up to “adopt a cardinal” by which you will receive the name of a particular cardinal for whom you will offer prayers and sacrifices over the next few weeks so that the Church will be granted a worthy successor to Saint Peter. An even better way is to certainly participate in the novena requested by Bishop Fellay, starting on Friday, March 1. Details can be found here.
So, as we hear the endless rumors, speculations, and the constant droning from the media over who the next likely pope is, let us do the one thing we can actually do: Storm Heaven with our prayers and sacrifices that through the means of this next Pope, we may see the restoration of all things in Christ!
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