I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three
canonizations, but also to communicate to you 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
my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an
adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.
I am well aware that
this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be
carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with
prayer and suffering.
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 bark 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.
For this reason, and well aware of
the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I
renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint
Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in
such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the
See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a
Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be
convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and
work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask
pardon for all my defects.
And now, let us entrust the Holy
Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus
Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may
assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in
electing a new Supreme Pontiff.
With regard to myself, I wish to
also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future
through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013.
BENEDICTUS PP XVI