The Holy Father in his own words

The Holy Father: ipsissimis verbis

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Petros 92 says:

    God bless the Holy Father!

  2. fvhale says:

    Here is the Latin text. It would be a good text for study by students of Latin:

    Fratres carissimi

    Non solum propter tres canonizationes ad hoc Consistorium vos convocavi, sed etiam ut vobis decisionem magni momenti pro Ecclesiae vita communicem. Conscientia mea iterum atque iterum coram Deo explorata ad cognitionem certam perveni vires meas ingravescente aetate non iam aptas esse ad munus Petrinum aeque administrandum.

    Bene conscius sum hoc munus secundum suam essentiam spiritualem non solum agendo et loquendo exsequi debere, sed non minus patiendo et orando. Attamen in mundo nostri temporis rapidis mutationibus subiecto et quaestionibus magni ponderis pro vita fidei perturbato ad navem Sancti Petri gubernandam et ad annuntiandum Evangelium etiam vigor quidam corporis et animae necessarius est, qui ultimis mensibus in me modo tali minuitur, ut incapacitatem meam ad ministerium mihi commissum bene administrandum agnoscere debeam. Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commissum renuntiare ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.

    Fratres carissimi, ex toto corde gratias ago vobis pro omni amore et labore, quo mecum pondus ministerii mei portastis et veniam peto pro omnibus defectibus meis. Nunc autem Sanctam Dei Ecclesiam curae Summi eius Pastoris, Domini nostri Iesu Christi confidimus sanctamque eius Matrem Mariam imploramus, ut patribus Cardinalibus in eligendo novo Summo Pontifice materna sua bonitate assistat. Quod ad me attinet etiam in futuro vita orationi dedicata Sanctae Ecclesiae Dei toto ex corde servire velim.

    Ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die 10 mensis februarii MMXIII



  3. BillyHW says:

    Can someone translate please?

  4. He sounds very frail and exhausted…Oremus

  5. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Quid putas, Pater? Notavitne vir (episcopus?) qui ad papae dexteram sedebat verba resignationis? Ecce ocula eius.

  6. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Fallor. Non dexteram, sed sinistram papae, sedebat vir.

  7. oddfisher says:

    If you watch closely, he seems to be “reaching” for breath at several points.

  8. At the very end of his announcement, the Pope looks so defeated. My dear Papa.

  9. Mariana says:

    “Luminoso” is le mot juste!

  10. Mariana says:

    Dr. Edward Peters,

    Yes, he looked shocked to the core. In a quiet way, but still.

  11. fvhale says:

    Dear BillyHW, the Declaratio is available in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish at:

  12. Cavaliere says:

    @oddfisher If you watch closely, he seems to be “reaching” for breath at several points.

    I saw the Pope at an event on Saturday and a few times during his talk his voice got lower and seemed to waver. He has been criticized by some for resigning during Lent which will cause a disruption in many of the activities during Lent and the approach of Easter. Frankly it would not surprise me in the least if the Pope wasn’t aware that his time was short and planned his resignation and the ensuing conclave so that everything could be completed before Holy Week.

  13. fvhale says:

    Along with the Pope’s “Declaratio” of Monday February 11, I think it is helpful to be aware of his “Lectio” of Friday February 8. Although I could not find an official English translation yet, there is one available in Sandro Magister’s column. Here is the conclusion, about both “false optimism” and “false pessimism”:

    “Naturally, there is a false optimism and a false pessimism. A false pessimism that says: the time of Christianity is finished. No: it is beginning again! The false optimism was that after the Council, when the convents were closing, the seminaries were closing, and they were saying: but it’s nothing, everything’s fine . . . No! Everything is not fine. There are also grave, dangerous downfalls, and we must recognize with healthy realism that this is not all right, it is not all right when wrongful things are done. But also to be sure, at the same time, that if here and there the Church is dying because of the sins of men, because of their unbelief, at the same time it is being born anew. The future really does belong to God: this is the great certainty of our life, the great, true optimism that we know. The Church is the tree of God that lives forever and bears within itself eternity and the true inheritance: eternal life.”


  14. acardnal says:

    Here is a 5 min. video interview from CNS with Cardinal Arinze. He was present when the Holy Father made his announcement and gives his reaction.

  15. Therese says:

    Very matter of fact in his delivery, though. In hindsight, it seems very wise to have announced this in Latin. (Frankly, people do not listen too closely to things said in their own language, a fact that is currently driving our poor grasp of the Mass.)

  16. Philangelus says:

    It occurred to me that there are some devotions that carry the promise that you’ll be warned thirty days before your death. Maybe he got warned, and he didn’t want to leave the Church rudderless while we were grieving. I’m so sad about this.

  17. acardnal says:

    Pope’s brother, Msgr. Georg, reacts. Says don’t expect anything more to be published by Pope Benedict while he is alive. It would be seen as interference by some with the work of new Pope.

  18. WesleyD says:

    Wow, he speaks Latin fast. I wonder how many of the cardinals present understood him the first time around? Without the transcript I couldn’t have caught more than a few words.

  19. Edward Mulholland says:

    Perhaps someone can help me out here. The key sentence in the Pope’s delcaration is this: “Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commissum renuntiare ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.”
    Grammatically, we have declaro and two accusative and infinitives: me…. renuntiare, and Conclave… convocandum esse.
    What puzzles me is “commissum.” Shouldn’t it agree with “ministerio” and not “me”? If it agrees with “me” (“I declare that I, entrusted with/to the ministry…” then the “mihi” seems superfluous.)
    My head is not clear today… what am I missing?

  20. priests wife says:

    I’m pacific standard time- my mother called me at 6:30 am Monday to tell me the news- to show how seriously she’s taken this, on 9/11, she didn’t call even though she knew we don’t have a television…I’ve encouraged her to watch the lovely video from Cardinal Arinze

  21. WesleyD says:

    Edward, I think you are right. The main clause (using English word order) consists of “declaro me renuntiare ministerio Episcopi Romae” (renuntiare takes the dative, not an ablative of separation, oddly). I don’t see any choice but to take “mihi per manus Cardinalium commissum” as a participial clause modifying ministerio, and therefore “commissum” must be a typo for “commisso” (although the Holy Father clearly says “minsterio” and “commissum” at 1:09-1:17 in the video).

    Your post did clear up another point that confused me; I initially interpreted the ut clause as extending to the end of the sentence, and so couldn’t figure out why convocandum esse was an infinitive. But from your post I now see that the ut clause ends with vacet, and the remainder of the sentence continues the main clause whose verb is declaro.

  22. Edward Mulholland says:

    Yes, “ministerio” is dative with a compound verb, although Lewis and Short document that the accusative is more common with this verb. That may account for the slight grammatical anacoluthon of “commissum,” as if one speaking or translating forgot that he had initially used a dative object with “renuntiare” and made the participle agree with the more prevalent option for a direct object of “renuntiare”, an accusative.

  23. ljc says:

    Imagine being the Latinist who was handed this letter to make sure the grammar & spelling were right. Maybe Card Burke did it himself, but methinks they’re always looked over by multiple people to be certain nothing was missed.

  24. Prof. Basto says:

    Cardinal Sodano was received in Audience on February 8th, according to the Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office. That’s probably when he was told of the Pope’s intention.

    I watched Father Lombardi’s briefing yesterday (there was another one today, that I have not watched yet). The Press Office Director speculated that the document was prepared in Latin – and translated into the several languages in which it was quickly made public yesterday – by the Pope’s closest colaborators, because he, Lombardi, knew of nothing until the document was read in the Consistory of February 11th.

  25. Edward Mulholland says:

    Well.. I think I have a way to make it work grammatically, (though I think the typo is the easiest answer.)
    Take “ministerio” as a dative of reference, and “commissum” as direct object of “renuntiare” and it works like this: “I declare that I, as to ministry, renounce what was entrusted to me….”
    Cumbersome and not as smoothly stylistically, but enough to get someone out of Latin grammatical prison.

  26. Mitchell NY says:

    Maybe the Pope, once relieved of the great burdens and pressures will feel comfortable to celebrate the TLM in his final years. In doing so, if the world at large were to gain knowledge of it, it may very well have more meaning and effect than if he had done it as Pope. If indeed this is in his thoughts then he knows very well how it will help the Latin Mass Communities and he can still feel he is contributing to the Church at large albeit in a less formal way. It would be quite touching to have the Holy Father quietly and out of the spotlight start celebrating this Mass in his twilight years. Afterall a very wise Pope wrote a MP that declared he needs no permission at all. God Bless and protect Benedict XVI.

  27. WesleyD says:

    Edward, that would work.

    Looking at the dictionary again, I think I was wrong about renuntiare. Its direct and indirect objects are in the accusative and dative, respectively, as one would expect, and the indirect object is optional. Thus: “Carnem renuntio” = “I am giving up meat;” and “Auxilium sorori renuntio” = “I refuse to give help to my sister.” So if the sentence is indeed grammatical, then you must be right that “commissum” stands by itself as the direct object of renuntiare, and there is no indirect object.

  28. Dr.Aveline says:

    The comment that commissum should be commisso was right on (I noticed it as well). The offical version on the Vatican site says “commisso”. Benedict, however, did read “commissum”, which was either a textual error which has been subsequently emended, or an understandable minor slip by someone, burdened by age and ill health who is making one of the most monumental statements in centuries.

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