Pope Benedict XVI has delivered a final speech, hours before his resignation was officially pronounced. According to the Associated Press, the first Pope to resign in 600 years, surprised people in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall with an unexpected speech dealing with the recent concerns about potential conflicts arising from his decision to resign.
Pope Benedict XVI has had a difficult task of living up to his predecessor’s reputation, Pope John Paul II and for that matter he was often times criticized by the media. He was described as a radical and undiplomatic Pope, but he will, nevertheless, go down in history for his decision to resign. As expected, the announcement that Pope Benedict has decided to withdraw from his papal position has caused even more debates than his previous declarations.
Numerous traditions and customs were revisited because the Vatican has not dealt with a similar case in 600 years. Amidst these discussions, Pope Benedict XVI showed up last night in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall to utter his final speech before retirement. He reassured people that the Vatican will find solutions to all the issues that have arisen from the fact that he has decided to be a retired pope and not a reigning one.
Pope promised “unconditional reverence and obedience” to the person who will be elected as his successor and invited the entire Catholic community to do the same. Before concluding his farewell, he delivered a final set of instructions to the “princes” of the Catholic Church, who now have the difficult task of choosing the 266th Pope. “May the College of Cardinals work like an orchestra, where diversity – an expression of the universal church – always works towards a higher and harmonious agreement,” was his final statement.
Pope Benedict XVI will continue to serve the Catholic Church by living a life of prayer, so he will not return to the private life, as some people have speculated. On Thursday evening, Pope Benedict XVI will leave the palace and head to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo in the southern area of Rome.