Washington D.C., Feb 25, 2013 / 17:05 pm
Pope Benedict’s eight years of service to the Church should leave the faithful filled with gratitude and renewed in both faith and love, said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C.
“We are able to recognize that our Holy Father’s action speaks to us of his greatness and his ability to recognize the needs of the Church Universal today,” the cardinal said at a Feb. 24 Mass of Thanksgiving for the service of Pope Benedict XVI.
Around 3,000 people gathered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the Mass.
In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl voiced gratitude to the Holy Father for his leadership and loving care.
He explained that “our hearts are filled with both faith and love” as we recognize Christ’s “continuing presence” in the “teaching office symbolized by the Chair of Peter” and experience “hearts filled with love for the person who for nearly eight years has sat in that chair – Pope Benedict XVI.”
On Feb. 11, Pope Benedict shocked the world by announcing that he would be retiring at the end of the month due to advanced age and declining strength.
“Now that some of the dust has settled,” Cardinal Wuerl said, “we are able clearly to see the courage, humility and honesty of our Holy Father” in choosing to step down.
Implicit in the Pope’s announcement, he explained, was the humble recognition “that it would be better that someone with more energy serve as Chief Shepherd of the Church at this time.”