HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Statement of the Most Reverend Larry Silva, Bishop of Honolulu, on the Announcement of the Impending Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI
This morning our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, announced his intention to resign the papacy on February 28, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. (Rome time, 9:00 a.m. Hawaii time). Retiring from the papacy is so rare in the history of our Church that such resignations can literally be counted on one hand. It is for the love of the Church, however, that our Holy Father has discerned that this is what God is calling him to do, since he no longer has the physical stamina necessary for such a demanding office.
Pope Benedict XVI has left a clear mark on the Church in Hawaii in the almost eight years of his papacy. He was elected to be the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of St. Peter on April 19, 2005 at the age of 78. On May 5, 2005, I was informed that he had chosen me to be the Bishop of Honolulu, even though the announcement was not made public until May 17. I was one of the first bishops in the world to be named by Pope Benedict XVI. On May 14, 2005, under his authority, Mother Marianne Cope was declared Blessed at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. On October 11, 2009, our Holy Father declared Father Damien DeVeuster, SS.CC. a Saint; and on October 21, 2012, he canonized St. Marianne Cope, O.S.F. We will always be grateful for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI.
Our gratitude goes far beyond what he has done for Hawaii. He has been an inspiring teacher of the faith with profound insights in his homilies, speeches, encyclicals, and exhortations. He leaves a great legacy to the Church and the world, and his teachings will be worth studying and pondering for generations and centuries to come. He has been a prophet of love, never backing down from the demands of the gospel, the good news that truly sets all human beings free, but always in a spirit of love. He has suffered much criticism, but he has never lost sight of the profound love of Jesus Christ or of Christ's desire to touch every person and nation on the face of the earth.
I am personally grateful for the opportunities I have had to meet Pope Benedict XVI for brief exchanges. I first met him in September, 2005 at an audience he held for newly ordained bishops throughout the world. I met him again at the canonizations of St. Damien and St. Marianne. Last April the bishops of our Region had a more extensive meeting with him during our "Ad limina" visit to Rome to report on the state of our dioceses.
We offer our prayers of thanksgiving for this Servant of the Servants of God and our prayers for good health and much joy in his retirement. We also pray fervently for the Cardinals who will gather in consistory in the month of March to discern together the one the Lord chooses, through their election, to be the new Pope. And we pray for our new Pope even now, whoever he may be, that he will continue to give courageous and loving witness to Jesus.