Catholic Democrats Responds to Pope Benedict XVI’s Announcement of His Resignation

Applauds Pontiff for Consistent Concern for the Poor

Boston, Mass. – Leaders of Catholic Democrats are responding to the announcement today that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning his office.  Elevated to Pontiff in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI’s eight years as Pope have been filled with challenges and opportunities for the Catholic Church during a period of tremendous turmoil throughout the world.  Through all of it, Pope Benedict has provided much needed pastoral leadership for the global community, rooted in the rich Catholic Social Justice Tradition, which has advanced the common good for all of humankind.

“In 2009, Pope Benedict issued Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), a papal encyclical that looked at the importance of helping the poor around the world, especially in the wake of the breakdown of the economic order in 2008,” said Nicholas Cafardi, a member of Catholic Democrats board of directors and the editor of Voting and Holiness.  “At a point in time where so many were ignoring the voices of the poor, Pope Benedict heard them and provided tremendous leadership in ensuring that those in power paid attention to the most vulnerable among us.  He has also taken a strong role in connecting the relationship between the good stewardship of the environment to poverty around the world.  Throughout his Papacy, he has continued to shine a spotlight on these issues, and has thus added important intellectual and pastoral thinking to Catholic social teaching.”

“Pope Benedict made a courageous decision, putting the welfare of our beloved Church, and the global community, before his,” said Steve Krueger, president of Catholic Democrats. “He has been aware that our Church is in need of healing and unity. While the Catholic community continues to suffer from the impact of the clergy sexual abuse crisis – with revelations continuing in the U.S., across Europe, and other parts of the world – Pope Benedict, to his credit, has moved the Church to address this more proactively. More is left to do for his successor. And while domestically, too many Catholics, especially young people, have been made to feel alienated from the Church today, in part because of differences that have continued to emerge in the body politic between lay Catholics and many of the hierarchy; he has continually reminded the global community of the legitimate and necessary role of government to address the human needs of all of God’s children.”

In his statement, Pope Benedict said, “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.”  Such a statement demonstrates remarkable care for the Church and for its people and concern in welcoming back all those who feel so dispirited in their faith.

“Assessments are already being made of Pope Benedict’s legacy to the Church.  Surely, it is too early for that.  But if assessments are to be made, we hope that Pope Benedict’s vast legacy of social justice teachings is not ignored,” said Cafardi.  “This pope was very firm in his teaching that ethics, and not simply profit, should drive our economics; that a country’s economy must be ‘people-centered’; and that government has a role in remedying “the scandal of glaring inequalities” among people.”

“We thank Pope Benedict for his long life of service to the Church, as priest, professor, diocesan bishop, curial cardinal and pope.  With Catholics around the world, we wish him well in his retirement, and we offer prayers for him and his successor,” said Cafardi.

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About Catholic Democrats

Catholic Democrats represents a Catholic voice within the Democratic Party, and advances a public understanding of the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching and its potential to help solve the broad range of problems confronting all Americans. For more information about Catholic Democrats please go to www.catholicdemocrats.org.

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  1. Good article on this

    A great progressive Catholic writer filling the void left by an aging and angry Gary Wills and Andrew Greely named Michael Sean Winters wrote a fantastic piece in the New Republic arguing that Benedict was one of the most articulate global advocates against market capitalism and in favor of a more spiritual nd equitable economy.

    Imagine, for a moment, the outcry if President Barack Obama had lumped “unregulated financial capitalism” with “terrorism” and “international crime” in the same paragraph as threats to world peace! But because many of Pope Benedict’s American fans do not share his clear, unequivocal suspicion of markets, these teachings tend to be ignored. (They are also ignored, unfortunately, by many people in America who are suspicious of both the Church and capitalism.) In the wider Catholic universe, which is growing exponentially throughout the developing world, these teachings garner more attention.

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