In a press conference on Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, his Eminence Cardinal Donald
Wuerl reflected on the decision of the Holy Father to step down by saying that the pope, in his great humility, his love of the church, and by his courage determined that in his advanced years he no longer feels he has the energy required to discharge his duties as pope. The press conference addresses many issues of concern to Catholics just hours after the announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that as of 8:00 pm on February 28, 2013, he will retire and go into seclusion in a monastery in Vatican City.
Cardinal Wuerl articulated the clarity of the church’s mission by stating that the successor of Pope Benedict will carry on the spiritual tradition of the church. “The Holy Father has the responsibility to continue the basic doctrine that is the bedrock of the Catholic faith.”
His advice for Catholics is to pray for the pope, to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and to trust that the life of the church continues in our parish life. Our church’s mission is about focusing on a personal, spiritual relationship with God as given to us in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Cardinal Wuerl emphasized that though our modern church faces many challenges (such as abortion, gay marriage, religious liberty) our relationship with God is our primary mission. He feels that the qualities that the next pope needs to possess would be to continue to focus on the spiritual mission of the church, the gospel of Jesus, and to recognize that the church is a family of God that has a spiritual relationship with God. He asks us to pray and trust in the Holy Spirit.
When asked about Pope Benedict’s legacy, Cardinal Wuerl believes that his “engagement of faith with the modern world” has had a profound impact on the acknowledgement that faith and reason are both directed toward the same good. In his comments about the selection of the next pope, Cardinal Wuerl also stated that the conclave of cardinals must weigh experience with energy. What must drive the cardinals in their decision? They must pray for what God wants. To view the full press conference, go to: