Benedict cited ill health as the reason for his abdication, eloquently stating: “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. Here is a link to his statement.
It takes great humility to resign from one of the most powerful offices in the world – especially when this is the first time such a resignation has taken place in nearly 600 years.
He was a less dynamic man than his predecessor, Pope John XXIII. But his quiet and steady guidance of the Church will be deeply missed. He was forward thinking enough to embrace modern methods of evangelization, encouraging social media and embracing Twitter, but cognizant enough of the tradition of the Church to grant a motu proprio for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (popularly known as the Latin Mass). He was renowned as a brilliant theologian, yet his encyclicals discoursed simply and profoundly on the virtues of charity and hope.
Truly, Benedict was and is a sign of contradiction for our troubled time. Unthinkingly despised by many, he embodied the gentle but uncompromising wisdom of His Divine Master.
I only saw Pope Benedict XVI personally twice, and then only briefly. But I will miss his leadership and his wisdom greatly, and all Catholics everywhere owe him a debt of incalculable gratitude.
God bless you in the final days of your Papacy, Holy Father. May God bless the Catholic Church with another leader who will follow you in wisdom and holiness.