Bishop Michael O. Jackels gave thanks for the courage, humility, and love it took Pope Benedict XVI to announce that he would resign from the papacy during a homily Friday evening, March 1, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.
“Our pope emeritus is anything but a coward, he’s not running from anything,” Bishop Jackels said, but rather he courageously stepped down out of humility and overarching love for the church.
“A sign held by someone in the square in front of Castel Gandolfo says it well: ‘Your humility has made you even greater - thank you!’” he said.
Castel Gandolfo is the summer residence of the pope.
Bishop Jackels spoke to a nearly full Cathedral at the late afternoon Mass celebrated in thanksgiving for Benedict XVI, for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and for the election of a new pope.
The resignation may set a president, he said, allowing future popes to retire from their ministry for the good of the church and the world.
In a speech made before his resignation, Pope Benedict compared the church to the Barque of Peter and said it was Jesus who steers the boat through the men of his choosing.
“Jesus won’t let it be sunk by today’s storm-tossed waves,” Bishop Jackels said.
Because the church is without a pope, he said, the name of the pope would not be mentioned in the Eucharistic Prayer.
As his reign as head of the Catholic Church was ending, Bishop Jackels said, Pope Benedict told those gathered at Castel Gandolfo that he would “be simply a pilgrim who is beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth.”
Bishop Jackels concluded by giving thanks for the way the former pope lived out his baptism, his priesthood, his role as bishop, and for accepting the choice of the College of Cardinals eight years ago.
“Bringing the full weight of his gifts to whatever his ministry called for,” he said. “Bringing, too, his vibrant faith, lively hope, pastoral charity, and his witness of the joy of being a Christian, that we should have this, too.”