Tu es Petrus

At the end of the Holy Father’s last public Mass as Bishop of Rome.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


  2. Gratias says:

    Thank you for this beautiful final procession. We were so fortunate to have this wonderful Holy Father for the past eight years. What a privilege.

  3. off2 says:

    There is a longer version at http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/ I’ve no idea how to cite it properly.

    It is so hard to trust when overcome with a sense of profound loss.

  4. Very powerful. I hope the Holy Father knows how much we love and appreciate him.

  5. BaedaBenedictus says:

    The video made me weep for the third time today. I just wasn’t prepared for this!

  6. Phil_NL says:

    Beautiful and powerful indeed.

    I must say though, that the Holy Father does look very weak here. No doubt in part due to the rollercoaster of the past days (and probably some anguish over the decision before that), but I get the impression that his health is indeed deterioriating fast. He looked better when making the announcement. The assurance that there is no concrete illness may mean nothing more than that they didn’t find something. I start to have my doubts, especially with how much weight he lost in the face compared to, say a year or so ago. More prayers for the Holy Father….

  7. Lucas says:

    I was only glancing at the video while packing lunches. Was that Bishop Ganswein who looked to be crying?

    Also, what happens to him? I’m assuming he doesn’t need to stay with the Pope any longer correct?

  8. Phil_NL says:


    I imagine that he’ll have a role in the transition for a few months; it will take time for a new Pope to get things sorted, and I would be very suprised if he wouldn’t ask BXVI who among the curial officials he can safely hang on to a little bit longer.

    After that, it’s anybody’s guess, but JPII’s personal assistant ended up with a nice dioceses in their native Poland, and was elevated to the cardinalte soon after. So the precedent set by Cardinal Dziwisz would be a good one for bishop Ganswein. In fact, wikipedia now goes so far as to call Cardinal Dziwisz papabile… so while it will surely be a big personal shock, and an end to an era for bp Ganswein, I doubt he’ll be a spent force.

  9. Gretchen says:

    I was able to see the Pope during his apostolic visit in 2008 (when I came into the Church). I will never forget it. When he finally arrived, we all (young and old) ran crazily after him as he passed by in the Pope mobile. Everyone was so full of joy. It was the Yonkers stop of his visit. The day had been so hot, with the sun beating down. Not a wisp of cloud in the sky. Then, as Pope Benedict XVI took the stage, a small cloud appeared overhead. Just a tiny thing, in the shape of a dove. And in that cloud you could see a rainbow. I have never experienced anything like that before. People were noticing and commenting, and an acquaintance who had been able to attend numerous events with JPII said that it was rather a common thing to have such signs when the Pope was present. A cool breeze accompanied that little cloud. I will miss my Pope Benedict very, very much.

  10. John Fannon says:

    The Anthem ‘Tu es Petrus’ is moving in it’s own right, but here in the setting of the Holy Father’s last Public Mass, I am just overwhelmed.

    When Blessed Pope John Paul was critically ill in hospital after the attempted assassination, I noticed a well wisher with a huge banner outside ‘Resta con noi, Woytila!’ Stay with us!

    I have a similar sentiment today, but when I compare these last pictures with the photos of him at his accession, I can see how he has suffered in standing up to the wolves who have constantly attacked him and the Church of Christ.

    How we shall miss our beloved Holy Father.

  11. raitchi2 says:

    I kinda lol’d watching this. Isn’t Benedict the same guy who wrote:

    “”Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. ” – Cardinal Ratzinger (Spirit of the Liturgy p. 198)

    On a certain level, I’m sure he appreciated that people appreciate him and his service. On the other hand, I’m sure he was thinking, “They haven’t listened to a single thing I’ve said.”

  12. Ignatius says:


    I thought EXACTLY the same thing. However, this occasion was unique and I think everybody was overcome by the emotion of the moment… It is understandable.


  13. Liz says:

    I teared up at the very start, but then I was so distracted by the clapping. I probably would have missed the whole procession because I would have been the cranky old lady who was going around whispering not to clap.

    Oh dear, now here I am with the realization that I didn’t spent enough time thanking God for such a wonderful, holy Holy Father nor enough time praying/sacrificing for him. We have been so very blessed. May his reward be great in heaven.

  14. oldcanon2257 says:

    What will happen to Msgr. Guido Marini? I wonder if he will be consecrated a bishop before February 28… He has been a loyal son of Papa Benedicto and faithfully implemented the Holy Father’s reform of the reform liturgical vision.

  15. PeterC says:

    If I were there and an applause like that would erupt in front of the very Pope who does not want it, I’d hesitate…However, I saw Msgr. Marini applaud His Holiness as well. He’s the Master of Ceremony, I think it is safe to assume that this applause is an exception. :)

  16. Prof. Basto says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Holy Father!

    Please forgive us, your sons, for our shortcomings.

    Many thanks and many years!

  17. Charivari Rob says:

    I was intrigued by the habits worn by the group of Sisters at about the 5:08 point. One I’ve never seen before – anyone know which order they are?

  18. Charivari Rob says:

    … and I clearly need to adjust the settings on my monitor. At the start, I found myself saying “How nice! The Holy Father wore the blue vestments today!”

  19. netokor says:

    Dios te bendiga siempre, Gran Guerrero de Dios.

  20. John Fannon says:

    Rob, I think that you may be referring to the Bridgettine Nuns, with their helmet-like headdresses.

  21. MuchLikeMartha says:

    Beautiful. Moments like this give me indescribable feelings of love and joy to for what it is to be a Catholic. May God bless our Holy Father.

    I need more tissues.

  22. Shamrock says:

    The applause was AFTER the liturgy was ended and the Pope was recessing….anyway, this
    *ruling* about applause was/is like a discipline…and many such disciplines have appeared and disappeared within my liturgical lifetime. It was all very respectfully done, not whistles, flag waving, etc
    I was moved when all the Cardinals removed their mitres in final loving deference to their fallen leader. I have never seen that before….it was so spontaneous. Just like the applaue!

  23. mamajen says:


    Was just going to post the same thing! I think applause after mass is quite different to applause during mass, which I unfortunately see happen all the time. I’m certain that when Pope Benedict spoke out about applause he was referring to when it interrupts the liturgy.

  24. benedetta says:

    That is just beautiful, Fr. Z., thank you for posting it. I will miss him so very much. I credit our Holy Father to a great degree with my reversion to the Faith.

  25. raitchi2 says:

    @Shamrock and mamjen.
    The applause Fr. Z posted is after the mass, so I guess yea whatever it’s cool. But here is what he had before the post-communion prayer. Not only was it standing ovation, but also many bishops took of their miters. This is perhaps more in line with what I and Ignatius were loling about.

  26. It’s unfortunate the applause was allowed. It would have been more appropriate in the Square.

  27. mamajen says:


    Oh, I see. I wasn’t aware that happened. Oh well, if ever there were a case for an exception, I think this was it :)

  28. Phil_NL says:

    Was that card Turkson who started the take-your-mitres-off-wave?

  29. Phil_NL says:

    Never mind, upon reflection it wasnt Turkson – probably Card. Arinze. Forgive me, but I’m a bit jittery about such signs, as I predicted after JPII’s funeral Mass that Card. Ratzinger would be the next pope. Those kind of symbolic acts do matter.

  30. Ralph says:

    I trust in the Holy Father and his wisdom. But my heart is still broken. When the choir started that most beautiful music, I was crushed. “You are Peter” what a way to send out this great man!

    I understand that he will need to keep a lower profile once we have a new pope. But I hope this is not the last we see of him in a public. He is such a dear man.

    As for the applause. I am not a fan. But — in this case, we are talking about a spontaneous expression of love, not a forced display. I guess every rule needs an exception, and this is the one for this one.

    The Holy Father looked so very weary. He has given his body and soul for this Church. I hope God will grant his a peaceful retirement for many years.

  31. wanda says:

    Much Like Martha, You posted exactly how I feel, as well. Thank you, Fr. Z.

  32. Mariana says:

    ““”Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy…”‘

    Well it wasn’t in the liturgy, it was afterwards!

  33. Widukind says:

    So beautiful and moving is this footage, it does make one emotional. The whole of it, from the images to the music, bespeaks a joyful sadness.

    I am unsure of where I read this, but it had to do with liturgical celebrations. No matter how impressive a celebration, how perfect or fulfilling it is, of how much one is caught up in the joy, there always comes that moment when one realizes that it will never be again. It comes with a stroke of grief. This realization only comes when what is being done is the best that can be done, and done in all sincerity and truth. Such a moment never comes when the celebration is mediocre or sloppy, or mundane.

    It is this kind of moment that I see here, in this great mixture of joy, appreciation, gratitude, and sadness, being drawn out over minutes. This moment, these extended minutes, of joyful sadness, comes not at all for this particular Mass, but rather it comes for and with the entire reign of Benedict, for the celebration of his life. The little is written big.
    It is hard to put into words the warmth I felt, the contentment I experienced, sensing the intimacy of the whole thing, in seeing Benedict leaving. It makes one truly blessed to be Catholic. It would make anyone want to clap with joy!

    In being shown the faces of the many, especially religious and priests, who were there, they were all a sign of hope. Looking at their youthfulness and enthusiasm, and obvious sincere love for Benedict, nothing of Benedict is lost. These young people are the Church’s future and they will take Benedict with them. He will live on. This is hope.

    The legacy of Benedict is that he came with humility, that he lived in simplicity, that he taught with sincerity, and that he served the Truth most transparently. Is it little wonder that there was a multitude of people drawn to him? He was taken into our hearts and we were taken into his. He was truly counter-cultural. Yes, the grumps hated him. But those who seek the truth, were attracted to his goodness, and they smiled at him. What a lesson he is for us and for this world.

  34. Geoffrey says:

    I abhor applause in church, but I believe it is very different when it comes to the Holy Father. Applause is the only way for the people to convey to him their love and esteem.

    I thought the most moving part was that even the papal MCs were applauding… even Msgr. Marini! And if you look closely, Archbishop Marini (the former papal MC) seems to be visibly moved as well.

    Just as in 2005, papal events such as these (death, conclave, abdication) have a way of really uniting us all around Peter.

  35. Ygnacia says:

    My youngest son was baptized on April 19th., 2005, the day Pope Benedict was elected. And now, because of Summorum Pontificum, we have the Traditional Latin Mass in our diocese, that my son is now an altar server at. Thank you Holy Father, we will see the fruits of your good works for generations~

  36. benedetta says:

    As it happens, in our homeschool this week, my son is studying a chapter of Faith and Life series: “the Pope, the Vicar of Christ”.

  37. Tom Piatak says:

    Beautiful and moving. Thanks for sharing this.

  38. oldcanon2257 says:

    This particular instance of spontaneous applause was pretty dignified. And if we really think about it, they’re applauding/praising the glory of Our Lord as manifested through His faithful servant, our beloved Holy Father Benedict. There’s nothing inappropriate about that spontaneous act.

    I wish everybody there had spontaneously started singing the “Te Deum”.

  39. One of the most touching scenes I’ve ever seen from St. Peter’s.

  40. gloriainexcelsis says:

    The applause faded from my hearing early on. The face of the Holy Father had my attention. He looks gaunt, eyes sunken, deteriorating quickly before our eyes. I was in tears and am praying for him – and for whatever is to come by the Will of God.

  41. Being in my 70th year, myself and some of my Orthodox brother clergy of the same vintage found ourselves weeping throughout the Pope’s last public Liturgy. It elicits for so many of us the transitory nature of the here and now. In response to his words at the general audience, I found myself making a prolonged and deep examination of conscience, accompanied by tears. Many thanks to Your Holiness for being the kind and gentle teacher who helps us to reflect God more fully in our lives. You will be greatly missed, with the assurance of prayers on your behalf. Please continue to pray for all of us who have loved you so dearly.

  42. Konichiwa says:

    “Benedict received a one minute standing ovation, to which he said: ‘Thank you, but let us return to prayer.'”

  43. The applause seemed appropriate, the one at the end of mass. This was after all at the end of the last public mass that the Vicar of Christ, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI would offer. It was a show of genuine gratitude from his spiritual children, the flock that the Supreme Pontiff shepherds. What would be inappropriate is if they had a big carnival precede the recession down the middle of St. Peter’s or a pyrotechnic show with confetti and streamers. But here we had Palestrina’s Tu Es Petrus and an applause that seemed very fitting.

  44. gambletrainman says:

    For those of you who commented on the applause, if you look at video clips of previous popes, those inside St Peter’s Basilica always clapped while the pope was in procession. Evidentally this was the only church that allowed it. However, never was there any applause during the service, Mass, or other. I think this is what Pope Benedict was referring to—applause DURING the service as being a loss of respect. Of course, naturally, when the pope was on the balcony, it looked as though the applause would never end. These clips can be found on YouTube, all the way from Pope Leo XIII to today. By the way, Pope Leo was the first to be filmed AND recorded (the Ave Maria is recorded, but no films. And when the moving films came out, they were the silent films, but, if you look closely, you can see the applause. Benedict XV was the first to broadcast radio messages on the newly formed Vatican Radio)

  45. Regardless of the justifications: that it’s the Pope, that it’s the Pope’s last Mass as Pope, that it’s inside St. Peter’s, the fact is that the Lord, the Blessed Sacrament was still present, which is my mind makes it inappropriate. By that principle, it opens up other justifications, and that’s why we are where we are today. I remember a Pope in the past who said not to applaud the servant while the Master was present or something to that effect.

  46. Stumbler but trying says:

    The Lord is at work…truly he is. Our Holy Father is so loved and it makes me so happy despite being sad and crying and missing him already. I watched theses vidoes yesterday and cried and after watcfhing them again today, I am still moved by the beauty of our precious Catholic brethern and of their faith and ours that will live on.

    Such love, such gratitude and such emotion one can only wonder at what heaven will be like. I am grateful to God our most loving Father, to have revealed his tenderness and his mercy once again through our beloved Papa Benedicto. I can only imagine and hope that many were moved to seek Christ while watching especially those who are curious about what is means to be a Catholic.

    For those who are wondering about Archbishop Georg Ganswein, I read this just now on CNA:
    Archbishop Ganswein plans to remain prefect of Papal Household

    I already know many are gonna have a field day speculating over what this news means exactly.

  47. Matt R says:

    Archbishop Ganswein will be OK, I think. While he is very close to the Holy Father, his role is mainly logistical, and the next Pope will need stability in that department, so he will be a good man to have around.

  48. Catholictothecore says:

    Thank you for posting this, Fr. Z,. I’m going to miss the Holy Father. He was a good man truly attuned with God. Somewhere someone once said that, people went to see Pope John Paul II, but for Pope Benedict VI they went to listen to him. I believe he’ll still be around, though in a quiet way, helping, guiding the Church along. Renouncing the papacy will give him the much needed rest. He will be invigorated. He’s not going to fade away into the background, he still has much to contribute. God works in mysterious ways.

  49. Dennis says:

    At the 6:17 mark, did anyone else say to themselves, “Yes, now THAT is a nun!”?

  50. Supertradmum says:

    And at his last Mass yesterday, did anyone notice the man who kissed the Pope’s hand after receiving Communion from him?

  51. StWinefride says:

    Raylan Alleman: There is truth in what you say, but we humans are not robots. There are moments in life, exceptional moments, when we cannot help but be genuine and spontaneous. A Pope abdicating is something that none of us have ever witnessed and no doubt ever will again; so many of us are experiencing a mixed bag of emotions: shock, sadness, gratitude for the Pope’s Pontificate… We are in mourning but the person we mourn is still alive, even Mgr Gänswein was visibly moved. I, personally, don’t think there’s much of a problem if the rules are broken in such an instance.

  52. Stumbler but trying says:

    Another consolation from our Lord Jesus Christ through our beloved Holy Father…
    Pope tells priests: “I will always be close to you, even though I will be hidden.”

  53. pmullane says:

    Heavenly Father,
    You have demonstrated your love for mankind by blessing your people with the life of your servant Benedict XVI. We can never repay you for his life, his work, and the many fruits of his pontificate. We beg of your unfathomable mercy, grant our Holy Father Benedict peace and healing in this life, to behold the face of your beloved son in the next, and to hear the words of the one he served ‘well done, good and faithful servant, now come to the place prepared for you in my fathers house’.

    Heavenly Father, look with pity on your people, unworthy sinners that we are, heal our sorrow, soothe our fears, and bless us with a good and Holy Pope to shepherd us through this vale of tears.

    Thy will lord be done, now and forever.

    Thank you Holy Father

  54. Bob B. says:

    Dennis, she wasn’t the only one with a tear in her eye, either.

  55. Christophorus says:

    Raylan Alleman: The Blessed Sacrament is not kept in St. Peters (for this very reason). There’s a Eucharistic Chapel (quite beautiful) – the first chapel to the left as you face the back doors at the altar.

    Dennis: I noticed them my self – I haven’t seen a Brigatine nun in ages. Except on Fr. Blakes blog.

  56. majuscule says:



    He is such a humble man.

  57. Tony McGough says:

    I was moved to tears, too.

    Perhaps we have a new Custom in the Church: we can applaud the Pope at post-Communion, providing he is just about to abdicate. There, that should keep the matter under control.

    We are human, and occasionally, like David, we can dance before the Ark, or weep tears of gratitude for the Pope; or applaud him on his last day.

  58. catholicmidwest says:

    I don’t know that you can get a new “Custom” out of something that’s only happened once in 600 years, unless of course, y0u’re a North American.

  59. Matt R says:

    Also, I think this was the most beautiful version of Palestrina’s “Tu Es Petrus,” which is hard to do, considering how often they sing it in the Pope’s presence.

  60. jesusthroughmary says:

    It must have been a spontaneous gesture to sing this as the recessional; it makes no sense for Ash Wednesday. So it absolutely was a gesture of love and admiration for the Holy Father, and the people felt that and were similarly moved, and reacted in the way they knew how.

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