The Ordinary on the Resignation of Benedict XVI

From Monsignor Steenson:

Statement from the Ordinary of the
Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter
On the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

February 11, 2013

We members of the Ordinariate are in a particular way the spiritual children of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.  Throughout his years as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and especially as Pope, the reconciliation of Anglicans to the Catholic Church has been one of his principal tasks.  Our hearts are saddened to receive the news that Pope Benedict will step down from the Chair of Peter, but there is a deeper joy knowing that we are the fruit of his vision for Catholic unity.  And we will pray and work diligently to so that his labors in the vineyard might continue to bring forth a fruitful harvest.

When Pope Benedict issued the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in November 2009, he laid a permanent foundation for the Ordinariate, to be the means to reconcile Anglican groups to the Catholic Church and that this Anglican patrimony might be shared with the Catholic Church.  While the Ordinariate has been a special intention of Pope Benedict, it is now firmly established in the Catholic Church and will continue to serve as an instrument for Christian unity.

It seems likely that the transition, between Pope Benedict’s retirement and his successor’s installation, will be an orderly one that should not greatly impact the work of the Ordinariate.  We should probably expect that the ordinations of our candidates could be delayed slightly, as the Pope must approve these petitions.  But this can be a time for the roots of faith to grow deeper.  The patience of Jesus Christ will strengthen and encourage us!

Perhaps the most important thing that we can say at this time is a heart-felt thank you to Pope Benedict XVI, for giving to us this beautiful gift of communion.  We rededicate ourselves to promote this “culture of communion,” to which Archbishop Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, called us on the occasion of our celebration of the first anniversary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, in Houston on Feb. 2. 

And these words of our Lord seem particularly a propos for today:
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson