I offer this wholly inadequate encomium to Pope Benedict XVI, Born Teacher.
Amen. God bless you, Holy Father.
Approx. 12 minutes from now the See of St. Peter will be officially empty. We don’t usually get to know this kind of thing so precisely.
Thank you, Papa.
You have my gratitude, respect and love.
CASTEL GANDOLFO, ITALY, February 28, 2013 – Here is a translation of the brief address Benedict XVI gave this evening when he arrived at Castel Gandolfo. He spoke without a script from the central balcony, concluding with his final blessing as Pontiff:
Thank you! Thank you all! Dear friends, I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your affection that does me much good. Thank you for your friendship, your love, [applause] … You know that this day for me is different from previous ones: I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church: until eight in the evening I will be still, and then no longer. I am simply a pilgrim who begins the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth. But I wish still [applause – thank you!] … but I wish still with my heart, my love, my prayer, my reflection, with all my inner strength, to work for the common good and the good of the Church and of humanity. And I feel very much supported by your affection. Let’s go forward with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world. Thank you, I give you now [applause] … with all my heart, my blessing. [Blessing] Thank you, good night! Thank you all!
I am so grateful to His Holiness for his service to the Church. He is an exemplar of what the word pastoral really means. He’s also one of the greatest teachers of the faith I’ve ever seen. His ability to take a complex theological idea and express it so straightforwardly that even a dunce like me can get it is a gift from the Holy Spirit. It is not an overstatement to say that his ministry helped make my path to full communion with the Church an easier thing, and moreso, a sure thing. My affection and prayers will always be with him as the love of a son to a beloved grandfather and teacher.