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Ramiro Pellitero Iglesias, Professor of Pastoral Theology at the University of Navarra (

A brave, normal, good decision

Tue, 12 Feb 2013 10:04:00 +0000 Published in El Día (Tenerife)

It was not an easy decision. Benedict XVI is well aware that it was "a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that, because of my advanced age, I no longer have the strength to exercise the Petrine ministry adequately".
After the shock, a real blow to the Christian family, at the news, we are beginning to glimpse a little of what has happened and on what paths God has led us and is leading us, hand in hand with this discreet and magnanimous man, who today is a man of the Church, but who, in the future, will be a great help to the Church.
guide He is a man who has been a great help to the Church today, but who in just three weeks' time will leave his ministry to the next successor of Peter.
It is a courageous decision because there were few precedents. Perhaps that is precisely why he has taken it "in complete freedom", to leave open to those who follow him another path, already foreseen in the Law of the Church, as good as other paths.
He has amply demonstrated that what he thinks now he has been thinking for a long time, and he acts accordingly: "I am well aware that this ministry, by its spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with works and words, but also and no less Degree suffering and prayer". In this sentence, one also glimpses that he was a witness of the last period of John Paul II.
"However," he says, to clarify his motives, "in today's world, subject to rapid transformations and shaken by questions of great importance for the life of the Church, we must be able to understand that we are not only in the world of today, but also in the world of the future. of great importance for the life of faith, in order to steer the boat of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, vigor of both body and spirit is also necessary".
He has maintained this from the beginning of his pontificate, facing difficulties, scandals and betrayals. With constancy and farsightedness, he has proclaimed to the world the God of Love and Reason. As Bishop of Rome and head of the universal Church (not an absolute monarch), he listened to the concerns and suggestions made to him and, the first to obey, he seconded what was convenient, with his prayer and his untiring work . He listened to those in the Church who opted for extreme solutions. He opened the way to ecumenism. He defended human life and the family. He has opened horizons of thought and science. He has awakened dormant consciences to the clamor of the poorest and neediest. One of the best theologians of our time, he has passed on his wisdom and experience to his wisdom and experience, while at the same time witnessing to his simple piety. And he has renewed the Christian Education , the biblical and liturgical training . He has revived hope and promoted peace, building bridges as was his official document (pontiff).
He confesses now, without further ado, that he lacks strength, the necessary "vigor that, in recent months, has diminished in me in such a way that I must admit my inability to exercise well the ministry entrusted to me".
He has not been afraid of the difficult or unusual. Nor now. And so we see that this decision is not only courageous, but also normal, without ceasing to be important; and it has all the appearance of being a good decision, in line with what God wants. For this reason, once again, we must thank Benedict XVI for his service.