One year after the resignation that led to his election to the papacy, Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI today.
“Today I ask you to join me in prayer for His Holiness Benedict XVI, a man of great courage and humility,” the Holy Father tweeted in his @Pontifex account.
During a consistory of Cardinals on February 11th, 2013, Benedict XVI announced that he would resign from the Petrine ministry due to his declining health.
“However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,” Benedict XVI told the Cardinals last year.
Since his election, Pope Francis has met with the Pontiff Emeritus several times. The Holy Father has made no secret about his respect and admiration for Benedict XVI, likening him to “a wise grandfather.”
“There is one thing that describes my relationship with Benedict: I have such great affection for him,” Pope Francis said of Benedict on his return flight from Rio de Janeiro last year.
“I have always loved him. For me he is a man of God, a humble man, a man of prayer. I was so happy when he was elected Pope. Also, when he resigned, for me it was an example of greatness. A great man. Only a great man does this!”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI now lives at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City. (J.A.E.)