Where were you 4 years ago?

Where were you four years ago.  This is the fourth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s announcement that he would abdicate.

My blog that day HERE

You might also remember that on 11 February 2013 lightning struck St. Peter’s Basilica.

The photo from Agence France-Presse:

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Benedict XVI and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    T he lightning was an ominous sign.

    I found our about it while news was playing on the TV in patient’s rooms while I was working as an intern at one of our hospitals.

    It was a surreal and unsettling experience.

  2. mysticalrose says:

    What a fateful day. I felt anxious and unsettled at the announcement, and on some level I have felt this constantly since.

  3. TNCath says:

    It seems so much longer than four years. I was listening to the 5 a.m. morning news on the radio and trying to avoid getting out of bed. When I heard the announcement, I was out of bed instantly. Life hasn’t quite been the same since.

  4. Fr. Andrew says:

    First place I saw the news was on Twitter, the feed of comedian Jim Gaffigan of all people.

  5. jlong says:

    Is it ok to pray and hope that Pope Francis abdicates?

  6. Absit invidia says:

    It appears to me that the action of resigning, the lame excuse we were given, and the sign of lightning striking the Vatican indicates that Pope Benedict acted against God’s will. Just a theory.

  7. Sandy says:

    We had just gotten up, and my husband told me what he had heard on the radio. I said “Pope’s don’t do that!” I am still sad that Papa B is gone. As someone else said, it was surreal. We know that God has a plan, however, we just have to hang on for the ride!

  8. APX says:

    I was at Mass when our priest in his fervorino told us the news (Mass was at 0700 hrs, so we were probably some of the first people to hear the news in our area).

  9. Serviam says:

    It struck twice.
    Will never forget it.

    Lord, have mercy.

  10. Jackie L says:

    I don’t distinctly remember, I do remember thinking this might be the biggest thing he’d done, I loved Benedict, but wasn’t terribly concerned and thought that the Church would remain in good hands. I speculated that on the heels of the Obama re-election that I could see a scenario in which Cardinal Burke would become Pope. I wondered if the next Pope would take steps to further the celebration of the EF, and perhaps finally suppress the Jesuits.
    I’m now embarrassed by some of this(and hopefully wiser), and speculate that if what we’ve experienced post Vatican II is due to God being angered by the calling of Vatican II without an emergency in the Church, and similarly if what we’ve experience post Benedict XVI, isn’t due to his resignation without an emergency.

  11. This was right before Ash Wednesday. Our then-bishop celebrated Mass on Ash Wednesday that year, and I was hoping he or whoever would preach the sermon would offer some words of comfort. But there was not one syllable spoken about the earthquake that had just struck the Church. To me, it underscored just how much Pope Benedict was loathed in the upper echelons of my diocese, and how little love our own shepherds have for us in the pews.

  12. HighMass says:

    Sad and broken hearted, and am still to this day…we just didn’t have him LONG enough…he seems happy today, and says he doesn’t miss the chair of Peter….but that does not mean we don’t miss HIM AS OUR POPE his wonderful Pontificate. He WILL go down in History as ONE OF THE GREAT HOPE WE LIVE TO SEE IT!

  13. VexillaRegis says:

    I was at an IT course and took a quick glance at the headlines in a newspaper before the coffee break. I felt sick. We already had great problems with our local pastor as well as with our bishop and now the only recourse for us on Earth was gone. I immediately knew what was going to happen with our Church.


    “Blessed assurance: Jesus is mine!”

  14. John Grammaticus says:

    At work, I thought it was a co-worker playing a joke.

  15. Jann says:

    Exactly where I am now, sitting at my computer. But which website I learned the news from, I can’t remember. — Unlike the moment when I learned he had become Pope: I had hoped and prayed for years that he would be Pope one day and my friends would laugh and tell me it would never happen because he wass too old, or too unhealthy. Then on ‘that’ day, I turned on my computer and saw the headline and just stared at it, stunned. For a good while. I could not comprehend what my eyes were seeing. During his whole pontificate I was thanking God for giving Benedict to us. And when he abdicated I could only thank God for having given him to us for a while.

  16. Ivan says:

    …what preceded…
    “One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he loves Christ whom he serves. “Feed my sheep”, says Christ to Peter, and now, at this moment, he says it to me as well. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God’s truth, of God’s word, the nourishment of his presence, which he gives us in the Blessed Sacrament. My dear friends – at this moment I can only say: pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more – in other words, you, the holy Church, each one of you and all of you together. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for one another, that the Lord will carry us and that we will learn to carry one another.”

    St. Peter’s Square, Sunday, 24 April 2005

  17. Semper Gumby says:

    Deo Gratias for Pope Benedict XVI.

  18. HyacinthClare says:

    It’s tax season, so I was in the office doing taxes when I heard it, although I don’t remember. The strangest thing is, I woke up this morning and said, “February 11… what am I supposed to remember that happened on February 11?” I couldn’t bring anything to mind. I wonder if this is it? Prayers for dear Papa Benedict.

  19. Joseph-Mary says:

    A sad bad day especially what has happened since. He fled from the wolves but the Lord in His permissive will has allowed the consequences.

  20. albizzi says:

    Before Benedicts’ abdication and during these last four years, a number of things happened in the Vatican and elsewhere, pointing to a high probabilty that he abdicated under the pressure of a lobby, thus confirming his own prophetic words during his first mass as newly elected Pope:
    “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”
    But there is no blatant proof, only some clues. Otherwise this abdication would be invalid.

  21. Adaquano says:

    Sitting at work and got an email from my mom. My wife and I had just started dating, it was a big topic that night.

  22. Yosef says:

    I was just waking up and my wife told me. I remember an extreme sadness, confusion, and sick feeling in my stomach that I couldn’t quite explain. The lightning strike seemed ominous then, moreso now.

  23. JesusFreak84 says:

    I was living alone at the time, briefly horsing around on the internet before leaving for work, and at first I refused to believe it, so I fired up either EWTN or some other Catholic radio, and they confirmed it, and I just sat there stunned. I think if I wasn’t as “emotionally stunted” as I have to force myself be to avoid autistic meltdowns, I probably would’ve had a meltdown… Every fear I had about it’s been confirmed, too >.<;;;

  24. Katylamb says:

    I’m pretty sure I learned about it right here. I was sad, but I believed that Pope Benedict was going to die soon. But he didn’t die. Even after four years he seems to be going along okay. Soon after Pope Francis became Pope I began to have horrible suspicions. They have grown stronger as time goes by. I struggle daily with my faith in our Church. Please pray for me!

  25. WillP says:

    Dies calamitatis et miseriæ.

  26. Ivan says:

    WoW! Please see here what happened to my friend on that very day:

  27. bernadette says:

    I was sitting right where I am now, in my living room, reading Father Z. I remember the lightning strikes on St. Peter’s and the asteroid hitting Russia four days later. From what I read, it sounded like Pope Benedict was practically on his death bed but then not too long after the election of Pope Francis there was a picture of him standing tall and looking well rested. I loved him like a father and wish he had not left us.

  28. pannw says:

    I got home from dropping my youngest at school, fixed my coffee and sat down to enjoy it and check the morning headlines on Spiritdaily or Drudge; can’t remember for sure which. I actually cried out, Noooo…and started to cry. I thought of him asking us to pray for him to not flee from the wolves and the guilt made me cry harder. I did not pray for him enough. I took him for granted and miss him so very much. Kyrie eleison.

    Katylamb, I figure you already know all of this, but just for encouragement…a few years ago, one of my sisters was having a crisis of faith in the Church and was talking to our father about it. He asked her, ‘Do you trust Jesus?” She answered that of course she did, as I’m sure you do. His response was, “Then don’t worry, because Jesus promised the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church.” Or as my former parish priest likes to say, “Eyes on Jesus!” And He is there in the tabernacle, and on the altar, no matter what confusion the Pope or bishops or dissident priests, etc. bring. Sometimes I pull up the information on the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano for edification. :) I also look at the attack from without and within the Church as proof of her Authenticity which actually strengthens my faith in her. The devil hates her more than anything on this earth, because she is Christ’s Church. But he will not prevail. Hold tight to the Truth. It can only be found in the Church built upon the Rock, no matter how leftist/dissidents try to obfuscate it. I think there is a reason Pope Francis doesn’t actually try to officially change any of the authentic teachings. Either because he actually doesn’t want to, or I think he knows Jesus wouldn’t let him get away with it if he tried. After all, Jesus promised. Sure, many will be led astray by ambiguity and vagueness, (God help their shepherds) but if we look for the Truth, it’s still there and only there. In other words, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” And not by coincidence was Jesus’ answer, “Have I not chosen you twelve and one of you is a devil?” Don’t let the devils, and their wolves run you away from Jesus, Truly Present in the Tabernacles of the One True Church. Pax.

  29. Vincent says:

    I was in second year of University. I was supposed to be going to a lecture, but unusually checked the BBC News website before I left. The headline had just gone up – I thought it was a mistake initially, because the page went down immediately when I clicked on the link, but some frantic googling showed that it wasn’t a hoax. I was shocked, but only for a very short time. I’d seen a photo of him a couple of days before and didn’t think he’d last long – I just never thought he’d resign / abdicate. I don’t think I went to my lecture…

  30. bourgja says:

    I was driving to school to teach a class in ecclesiology, when I heard the news on the radio and thought it must be a hoax. I remember telling my students that this action could create a schism, if a pope were elected with radically different views than Pope Benedict. I also remember discussing a theory that the pope is in some way “married” to the Church of Rome, “until death do us part,” and that the election of a new pope while the old is still living, would be somewhat like a divorce and remarriage….

  31. iPadre says:

    Yep, I was home on my day off. Got up that morning and read it on Drudge Report. That it was a sick joke.

  32. iPadre says:

    Thought it was a sick joke.

  33. CatholicMD says:

    I was at the hospital preparing to go home after my daughter was born two days earlier.

  34. GypsyMom says:

    I saw it on the morning news on TV at about 7 am. I was still in shock when my sister called (you always know something is serious when the phone rings at that time of the day). She asked me, “Did you see what happened?” We both had a deep sense of foreboding. It was one of those moments you can never forget, like remembering where you were when the Challenger spaceshuttle exploded or when you found out Princess Diana was killed.

  35. discipulus says:

    More than ever before do I feel depressed that BXVI no longer occupies the Chair of Peter. And I have to agree with jlong’s comment above, wondering if it is wrong to pray for the end of the current papacy.

  36. rbbadger says:

    I was at the Seoul Central Bus Terminal waiting for my bus to Busan, where I was then living. I got online to see what going on around the internet and saw the news.

    I still mourn for what we had. I have tried, but will never have the same affection for Francis as I did for his predecessor.

  37. Katylamb says:

    pannw: Thank you for the kind words of encouragement. Yes, we must trust in Jesus.

  38. Wiktor says:

    When I heard the news from my wife, I immediately remembered an interview with Cardinal Ratzinger, which aired shortly after his election as a part of some documentary.
    In it, Cdl Ratzinger said he was already tired with work at the Vatican, and would like to retire to some less demanding place.
    And then he was elected Pope. Made me feel sorry for him…

    So BXVI’s resignation was not that big of a surprise for me.
    Now, whether that was for good or for worse, that’s entirely different matter…

  39. un-ionized says:

    katylamb, it’s true that things are hard. The things that happen when we pray and go to Mass and do good works haven’t changed though. I focus on those things lately and let the world take care of itself.

  40. hwriggles4 says:

    Fr. Z:

    I remember it was a Monday morning and I turned into Fox News where I heard the announcement. Later that morning driving to work I turned on Catholic Radio where the news show was scrambling to report the news that Pope Benedict XVI was abdicating on February 28, 2013. This news was a complete surprise, and a resignation by a Pope had not been done in 600 years. My prayer was that Burke would be tapped as the next pope.

    I was also disappointed with some of the secular news coverage, with certain clergy with a liberal bent being brought on television to opine.

  41. hwriggles4 says:

    Here is a news story from a trusted source that worries me. I know the Legionaries of Christ had some issues and problems, and I personally know two priests and one bishop who were formerly members of the L.C. who have been incardinated into U.S. Dioceses over the past several years.

    However, this article from a meeting sounds like Pope Francis is jealous of those good religious orders (F.S.S.P., I.C.K., C.P.M., Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, Dominican Sisters of Nashville, the Eastern Province Dominicans of the United States, Norbertines in California) and those dioceses that are thriving in vocations. Yesterday at Mass, our auxiliary bishop noted that my diocese will have three ordinations this year (last year we had four), and four are planned next year.

    Here is the article from Life Site News:


    I am very disappointed that Pope Francis is thinking this way. Sounds like a time warp to the disco age – I thought disco was dead.

  42. Brendan says:

    Via d Porta Angelica, having just walked out of Piazza San Pietro. A priest-friend was walking to the Press Office and told me about the announcement. I didn’t believe him! Got back to my apartment and turned on the television – found out that it was true, unfortunately. Was present for Benedict’s final audiences, public Mass, Angelus, etc. It all seemed surreal.

  43. bethv says:

    Interesting info regarding St. Peter’s lightening strikes on day of Pope’s resignation at
    Found this sentence towards the end of the fact filled article intriguing, “But can we rule out divine intervention? How, for example, do we account for the fact that there was more stormy activity than normal?”

Comments are closed.