Regarding Vatican Player video at www.vatican.va/video/ : How to view past videos

If you have missed the live broadcast of any past Papal events and events involving the Holy See, such as the press conferences in recent days by Fr. Federico Lombardi of the Holy See Press Office, you can access the recording at the Vatican Player site itself at http://www.vatican.va/video/

Instead of picking to watch live at the TV tab above (There are three tabs : Radio, TV, and agenda), pick the agenda tab, and then at the calendar at the right side, pick the date of the event that you like (For example, pick 13 February 2013 for the Ash Wednesday Mass and Pope Benedict XVI’s last public Mass). Then pick the event from the left side out of the list of events that occured that particular day.

Only those that has the TV icon has the recording though. If the TV icon is there, click on it, then click on the other TV icon on the upper-right hand side of the window, and then happy watching!

In addition, the website http://www.benedictxvi.tv/ also has a vast collection of papal videos (Pope Benedict XVI and documentaries of other Popes) available. Do visit and support the site!

Why did Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI relinquished the Papacy? (My personal opinion)

In my personal opinion, why our beloved Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, had decided to step down from his position and relinquish the Papacy, is because of three main factors and events that potentially play major roles in shaping his decision. All of these factors are tied to the first factor, that is his health.

 

Here are the three factors and events that in my opinion made our Pope Emeritus did what he had done :

 

1. Health : The Pope’s failing health due to his old age is likely the main reason why he had decided to relinquish the Papacy. Although indeed, he is now at 85 being much more vigorous as compared to Blessed Pope John Paul II’s last years, but as the Pope has great tasks to be done, for the sake of the Lord, and His people, Pope Benedict chose humility and step aside for someone else to take over the good works he had started.

He realised that his increasing difficulty in walking, most likely due to osteoarthritis and the problems with his vision will eventually impair him and preventing him from exercising his ministry as the Bishop of Rome. It has also been reported that Pope Benedict too suffers from Parkinson’s, although likely a mild one or one that is still at an early stage. This disease is well known for the one that debilitated Blessed Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict, being very close to the previous Pope, would really want to avoid another of many years of debilitation, where the Pope instead of leading directly the Church, had to delegate most of his works due to his disabilities. It is a matter of choice of course. Blessed John Paul II chose to persevere to show us how suffering for the sake of the Lord is like, and our beloved Benedict XVI stepped down to show us what humility and virtue is like.

 

2. WYD (World Youth Day) 2013 : The World Youth Day has been scheduled to occur in July 2013. It would have been in 2014, but because it will be held in Brazil, which will host the World Cup event in 2014, it was decided to hold the World Youth Day a year earlier. As the Pope’s health has made doctors to advise him strongly against transatlantic and difficult journeys, which would have limited him from visiting any countries outside of Europe, or even Italy in the coming years.

In 2012, his visits had been limited to Mexico, Cuba, and Lebanon, with only two major visits as opposed to the usual four or five visits per year, a clear sign that the Pope’s health is increasingly frail to travel far beyond Rome. As the World Youth Day 2013 will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it is also possible that our beloved Benedict XVI chose to step aside that a more capable and vigorous new Pope can go instead to the event, that the new Pope can fully lead the event without the disabilities that increasingly had debilitated our beloved Benedict XVI.

 

3. Asia, the Church in Asia : Although Pope Benedict XVI had been known as someone who is particularly very attentive to the problems that the Church is facing in Europe and the West in general, which resulted in his numerous visits to the countries mostly in Europe, but he has also made several visits to countries in Latin America and Africa. Many would have criticised him for leaving out Asia, as although Middle Eastern countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Israel had been visited rather often in his short pontificate, but he had yet to visit South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, where the Church, just as in Africa, had been growing very, very rapidly.

The Pope in fact, loved the Church in Asia, particularly the Church in China, which he had tirelessly worked at, in order that the believers in Christ there can be fully reintegrated into the One Body of the Universal Church, free from any form of external and governmental interventions.

Azerbaijan in Central Asia, was the last country in Central Asia visited by a Pope in 2002. But to truly look into Asia, we should go deeper into South Asia, that is India, and further east. The last time a Pope visited India and South Asia was in 1999 or 14 years ago, and the last time a Pope visited Southeast Asia was in 1995 (World Youth Day 1995, Manila, Philippines) or 18 years ago; and for East Asia, the last Papal visit was to Korea in 1989 or 24 years ago.

Several countries in Asia such as Singapore, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines, and some other Asian countries had also been graced with Papal visits only once or twice in the entire history of the Church, also owing to the recent expansion of the Church to Asia and that only beginning with Pope Paul VI, that the Pope began to travel again outside Rome and Italy after quite some time. Therefore, due to Pope Benedict XVI’s love for the Church, both in the elder Europe and the younger Church in Asia, and already that his debilitation had made him difficult to make transatlantic visits, including the upcoming World Youth Day in Brazil, but a travel plan to Asia would have made it much more difficult.

A younger and healthier Pope therefore will be able to visit Asia (South, Southeast, East Asia) perhaps as early as this year or next year, 2014. This is however not to say that an Asian Pope will be elected, just yet. The time has not come yet in this election for an Asian Pope. Only in the next election, which hopefully will be held in about a decade from now or more, that the first Asian Pope may be possibly elected.

 

In the end, it is Pope Benedict XVI’s love for God, and God’s people in the Church that made him to decide to step aside for the good of the Church and the good of God’s mission in this world. However, this is not at all interpreted that it will be permanently so or that such a stepping down will be customary for the Popes. The Papacy is not an office, and not an institution, which for example like the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglicans, which is rotated after every number of years in manner akin to the secular and the worldly prime ministers and presidents. No, the Bishop of Rome’s position, as Christ’s only Vicar on this world is far beyond that. Only the Pope himself can decide when and if he will resign at all, and only in extreme cases should this be done.

Let us all pray therefore for our beloved Pope Emeritus, His Holiness Benedict XVI, that God will continue to look after him in his retirement, that through his new life dedicated in prayer, he can lead the Church with the new Pope, his successor, whom we also pray for, to fight against the evils of this world. We also pray for those who attack the Pope, the institution of our Church, and those who attack the faithful in Christ, that first we forgive them, and ask the Lord to enlighten their hearts, that they will learn the truth about His Church and its teachings, that they too will believe and be saved through the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

May God bless all of us, bless His One and Universal Church, and bless the whole world. Amen!

First Meeting of the General Congregation of the College of Cardinals : Monday, 4 March 2013

http://www.news.va/en/news/sede-vacante-1st-meeting-of-general-congregation-a

The first meeting of the General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has been set on Monday, 4 March 2013 to discuss the conclave, especially deciding the exact start date of the conclave. Most Cardinals are expected to attend this first meeting as many of them are already in Rome by the end of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate on 28 February 2013.

 

There will be two meetings planned on Monday :

1st Meeting (Morning) : Monday, 4 March 2013 at 9.00 am CET/UTC+1 in the New Synod Hall

2nd Meeting (Afternoon) : Monday, 4 March 2013 at 5.00 pm CET/UTC+1 in the New Synod Hall

When will the papal conclave begin? Possibly between 9-11 March 2013, 10 days after Sede Vacante starts

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/conclave-expected-to-begin-between-march-9-11/

Conclave likely to begin between 9 March 2013 and 11 March 2013 according to a Vatican official. Based on the Motu Proprio Normas Nonnullas released by Pope Benedict XVI to clarify and modify the rules of the Conclave as stated in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, the Conclave can begin earlier than 15 days after sede vacante began.

However, the decision on the date of the beginning of the Conclave rests entirely on the College of Cardinals, who will decide in the General Congregation of Cardinals and other meetings that will begin today, Friday, 1 March 2013.

Sede Vacante has begun. The See of Rome is Vacant

Therefore, as of now, Thursday, 28 February 2013, at 8 pm CET (UTC+1), Pope Benedict XVI is no longer our Pope, and the See of Rome is vacant.

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Let us all pray, first for His Holiness Benedict XVI, Bishop Emeritus of Rome, that God will continue to guide him in his prayerful life as a simple pilgrim, to the end of his journey in this world. We will always remember him as our beloved Pope.

Then, of course, let us pray that God will soon appoint the new shepherd, successor of St. Peter the Apostle, through the Holy Spirit and guidance to the Cardinal-electors who will elect the new Pope in the conclave which will begin likely in about 10 days from now, according to the rules of Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis and the corresponding modifications by the Motu Proprio Normas Nonnullas.

Passing of Cardinal Jean Honore, Metropolitan Archbishop Emeritus of Tours at age of 92

http://www.gcatholic.org/hierarchy/data/cardJP2-8.htm#69

Cardinal Jean Honore, who was the Metropolitan Archbishop Emeritus of Tours and was made Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria della Salute a Primavalle by Blessed Pope John Paul II in February 2001, has passed away on Thursday, 28 February 2013, at the age of 92, on the day of Pope Benedict XVI’s retirement from the Papacy.

We pray for His Eminence Cardinal Honore’s soul, that God will welcome him to take a place in his kingdom, and that he will deserve the prize of eternal life after his fruitful life of 92 years in this world. God bless Cardinal Honore. Requiescat in Pace, Your Eminence.

The College of Cardinals now stand at 207 members, with 117 Cardinal-electors (115 of whom will attend the conclave) and 90 Cardinal non-electors.

The Ring of the Fisherman or the Fisherman’s Ring (Pope Benedict XVI’s ring as Pope)

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What is the Ring of the Fisherman? or also called the Fisherman’s Ring? and why fisherman?

This is because, Peter, the leader of the Apostles, whom our Popes are successors of, including our retiring Pope Benedict XVI, was once a fisherman at Lake Galilee in Israel. Then Jesus, our Lord, came and called him and his brother Andrew, to follow Him, and then He made Peter, a fisher of man, through His Church, which He entrusted to him to lead. This is why, the picture on the Fisherman’s Ring represents Peter as fisherman as seen in the image above. Also engraved is the regnal name of the Pope, Benedictus XVI in Latin.

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This ring was used in the past to seal important Papal documents such as letters and most importantly papal bulls. The seal used was wax seal, in which hot wax was poured and the ring is pressed onto the hot wax while it is still hot, and therefore, the image engraved on the ring, will be reflected on the wax seal, signifying the legality of the documents and papal bulls published, with the authority of the Pope, as successor of St. Peter and leader of the Universal Church, one Church of Christ.

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This ring, which symbolises the authority of the Pope, given to him at the Installation of the Pope (Papal Installation), is destroyed upon the Pope’s death, and in Pope Benedict XVI’s case, it will be destroyed after the sede vacante starts with a silver hammer in the presence of witnesses, to prevent any misuse of the Ring during the sede vacante to validate documents not released by the Pope.

Live Now : Pope Benedict XVI leaving soon for Castel Gandolfo

Watch live at Vatican Player : http://www.vatican.va/video/

The event will begin on Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 4.45 pm CET (Central European Time or UTC+1), and therefore accordingly here are the times for some areas in the world :

1. PST (Western USA) (UTC-8) :Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 7.25 am

2. EST (Eastern USA) (UTC-5) : Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 10.45 am

3. UTC (GMT) : Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 3.45 pm

4. WIB (Western Indonesian Time) (UTC+7) : Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 10.45 pm

5. SG time (UTC+8) : Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 11.45 pm (also for HK, China, Philippines, and Malaysia)

Pope Benedict XVI’s message at his last General Audience : St. Peter’s Square, Wednesday, 27 February 2013

“Like the Apostle Paul in the Biblical text that we have heard, I feel in my heart that I have to especially thank God who guides and builds up the Church, who plants His Word and thus nourishes the faith in His People. At this moment my heart expands and embraces the whole Church throughout the world and I thank God for the news that, in these years of my Petrine ministry, I have received about the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and for the love that truly circulates in the Body of the Church, making it to live in the love and the hope that opens us to and guides us towards the fullness of life, towards our heavenly homeland.”

“I feel that I am carrying everyone with me in prayer in this God-given moment when I am collecting every meeting, every trip, every pastoral visit. I am gathering everyone and everything in prayer to entrust it to the Lord: so that we may be filled with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding in order to live in a manner worthy of the Lord and His love, bearing fruit in every good work.”

“At this moment I have great confidence because I know, we all know, that the Gospel’s Word of truth is the strength of the Church; it is her life. The Gospel purifies and renews, bearing fruit, wherever the community of believers hears it and welcomes God’s grace in truth and in love. This is my confidence, this is my joy.”

“When, on 19 April almost eight years ago I accepted to take on the Petrine ministry, I had the firm certainty that has always accompanied me: this certainty for the life of the Church from the Word of God. At that moment, as I have already expressed many times, the words that resounded in my heart were: Lord, what do You ask of me? It is a great weight that You are placing on my shoulders but, if You ask it of me, I will cast my nets at your command, confident that You will guide me, even with all my weaknesses. And eight years later I can say that the Lord has guided me. He has been close to me. I have felt His presence every day. It has been a stretch of the Church’s path that has had moments of joy and light, but also difficult moments. I felt like St. Peter and the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee.”

“The Lord has given us many days of sunshine and light breezes, days when the fishing was plentiful, but also times when the water was rough and the winds against us, just as throughout the whole history of the Church, when the Lord seemed to be sleeping. But I always knew that the Lord is in that boat and I always knew that the boat of the Church is not mine, not ours, but is His. And the Lord will not let it sink. He is the one who steers her, of course also through those He has chosen because that is how He wanted it. This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. And that is why my heart today is filled with gratitude to God, because He never left—the whole Church or me—without His consolation, His light, or His love.”

“We are in the Year of Faith, which I desired precisely in order to strengthen our faith in God in a context that seems to relegate it more and more to the background. I would like to invite everyone to renew their firm trust in the Lord, to entrust ourselves like children to God’s arms, certain that those arms always hold us up and are what allow us to walk forward each day, even when it is a struggle. I would like everyone to feel beloved of that God who gave His Son for us and who has shown us His boundless love. I would like everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer, which can be recited every morning, say: ‘I adore you, my God and I love you with all my heart. Thank you for having created me, for having made me Christian…’ Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith. It is the most precious thing, which no one can take from us! Let us thank the Lord for this every day, with prayer and with a coherent Christian life. God loves us, but awaits us to also love Him!”

“It is not only God who I wish to thank at this time. A pope is not alone in guiding Peter’s barque, even if it is his primary responsibility. I have never felt alone in bearing the joy and the weight of the Petrine ministry. The Lord has placed at my side so many people who, with generosity and love for God and the Church, have helped me and been close to me. First of all, you, dear Brother Cardinals: your wisdom, your advice, and your friendship have been precious to me. My collaborators, starting with my secretary of state who has accompanied me faithfully over the years; the Secretariat of State and the whole of the Roman Curia, as well as all those who, in their various areas, serve the Holy See. There are many faces that are never seen, remaining in obscurity, but precisely in their silence, in their daily dedication in a spirit of faith and humility, they were a sure and reliable support to me.”
 
“A special thought goes to the Church of Rome, my diocese! I cannot forget my Brothers in the episcopate and in the priesthood, consecrated persons, and the entire People of God. In my pastoral visits, meetings, audiences, and trips I always felt great care and deep affection, but I have also loved each and every one of you, without exception, with that pastoral love that is the heart of every pastor, especially the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. Every day I held each of you in prayer, with a father’s heart.”

“I wish to send my greetings and my thanks to all: a pope’s heart extends to the whole world. And I would like to express my gratitude to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, which makes the great family of Nations present here. Here I am also thinking of all those who work for good communication and I thank them for their important service.”

“At this point I would also like to wholeheartedly thank all of the many people around the world who, in recent weeks, have sent me touching tokens of concern, friendship, and prayer. Yes, the Pope is never alone. I feel this again now in such a great way that it touches my heart. The Pope belongs to everyone and many people feel very close to him. It’s true that I receive letters from the world’s notables—from heads of states, from religious leaders, from representatives of the world of culture, etc.”

“But I also receive many letters from ordinary people who write to me simply from their hearts and make me feel their affection, which is born of our being together with Christ Jesus, in the Church. These people do not write to me the way one would write, for example, to a prince or a dignitary that they don’t know. They write to me as brothers and sisters or as sons and daughters, with the sense of a very affectionate family tie. In this you can touch what the Church is—not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian ends, but a living body, a communion of brothers and sisters in the Body of Jesus Christ who unites us all. Experiencing the Church in this way and being able to almost touch with our hands the strength of His truth and His love is a reason for joy at a time when many are speaking of its decline. See how the Church is alive today!”

“In these last months I have felt that my strength had diminished and I asked God earnestly in prayer to enlighten me with His light to make me make the right decision, not for my own good, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step in full awareness of its seriousness and also its newness, but with a profound peace of mind. Loving the Church also means having the courage to make difficult, agonized choices, always keeping in mind the good of the Church, not of oneself.”

“Allow me here to return once again to 19 April, 2005. The gravity of the decision lay precisely in the fact that, from that moment on, I was always and for always engaged by the Lord. Always—whoever assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and entirely to everyone, to the whole Church. His life, so to speak, is totally deprived of its private dimension. I experienced, and I am experiencing it precisely now, that one receives life precisely when they give it. Before I said that many people who love the Lord also love St. Peter’s Successor and are fond of him; that the Pope truly has brothers and sisters, sons and daughters all over the world and that he feels safe in the embrace of their communion; because he no longer belongs to himself but he belongs to all and all belong to him.”

“’Always’ is also ‘forever’–there is no return to private life. My decision to renounce the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this. I am not returning to private life, to a life of trips, meetings, receptions, conferences, etc. I am not abandoning the cross, but am remaining beside the Crucified Lord in a new way. I no longer bear the power of the office for the governance of the Church, but I remain in the service of prayer, within St. Peter’s paddock, so to speak. St. Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, will be a great example to me in this. He has shown us the way for a life that, active or passive, belongs wholly to God’s work.”

“I also thank each and every one of you for the respect and understanding with which you have received this important decision. I will continue to accompany the Church’s journey through prayer and reflection, with the dedication to the Lord and His Bride that I have tried to live every day up to now and that I want to always live. I ask you to remember me to God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals who are called to such an important task, and for the new Successor of the Apostle Peter. Many the Lord accompany him with the light and strength of His Spirit.”

“We call upon the maternal intercession of Mary, the Mother of God and of the Church, that she might accompany each of us and the entire ecclesial community. We entrust ourselves to her with deep confidence.”

“Dear friends! God guides His Church, always sustaining her even and especially in difficult times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the path of the Church and of the world. In our hearts, in the heart of each one of you, may there always be the joyous certainty that the Lord is beside us, that He does not abandon us, that He is near and embraces us with His love. Thank you.”

Pope Benedict XVI’s last message and farewell to the College of Cardinals, Clementine Hall, Thursday, 28 February 2013

“We could see that the Church is a living body, animated by the Holy Spirit, and truly lives by the power of God, She is in the world but not of the world. She is of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, as we saw yesterday. This is why another eloquent expression of Guardini’s is also true: “The Church is awakening in souls.”

“The Church lives, grows and awakens in those souls which like the Virgin Mary accept and conceive the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. They offer to God their flesh and in their own poverty and humility become capable of giving birth to Christ in the world today.”

“Through the Church the mystery of the Incarnation remains present forever. Christ continues to walk through all times in all places. Let us remain united, dear brothers, to this mystery, in prayer, especially in daily Eucharist, and thus serve the Church and all humanity. This is our joy that no one can take from us.”