Pope Benedict’s Devotion to Saint Celestine Signaled His Resignation from the Papacy

Pope Benedict venerating St Celestine, 
the only Pope Saint to have resigned
When I heard Pope Benedict’s announcement this morning that he would be retiring from the Chair of St Peter at the end of February 2013, I was sad but not entirely surprised. In fact, here on the blog, we’ve been following Pope Benedict’s devotion to Pope Saint Celestine for over two years now, and wondering whether our beloved Holy Father may be contemplating this decision. Saint Celestine, as you may know, was the last Pope to resign…and he is a canonized saint. Pope Benedict’s visits to Saint Celestine’s grave revealed that His Holiness was contemplating this decision.
Two and a half years ago, I posted an article on this site from Robert Moynihan called, “The Celestine Sign.” In this article, Mr. Moynihan detailed Pope Benedict’s growing devotion for Saint Celestine. As one who personally knows Pope Benedict, Moynihan speculated that Pope Benedict may have been subtly revealing his hand. The Holy Father’s growing love for the saint that resigned from papacy may indicate the prayerful decision of his own heart.
Think about it for a moment. If you were a Pope and completely overwhelmed and feeling inadequate,  to whom could you turn?
Who could possibly understand the pressures of the Papacy? Who could rightly guide you in this difficult decision? The simple answer is, no one on earth. So instead, our Holy Father has turned to Saint Celestine – the only saint in Heaven who has experienced what Pope Benedict is experiencing.

I find it beautiful that the Catholic Church even has a patron saint for Popes that resign. Let us pray for our Holy Father. Moreover, let us seek the intercession of Saint Celestine in the days to come.
Question for readers: How do you feel about this announcement? Pope Benedict is the only Pope under which I have been a Catholic so I find it a bit emotional. Nevertheless, I trust that our Holy Father is doing the right thing, and I’m optimistic about our next Pope. He chose the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes to reveal this and that’s a great sign. Christ already knows who our next Pope is. Let’s begin to pray for him and for the whole Church of Christ.

Please leave a comment and tell us whether you saw this coming and what you think the future holds. What will the conclave be like? Will Pope Benedict sit in on it?

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Saint Celestine, pray for us.
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