Pope Benedict and Pope St Celestine V

Today’s news about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was a real shock. Despite the fact that he has long hinted that popes should resign if they can no longer do the job, I don’t think that many people thought he would actually take that step.

I have no quote from Fr Doyle that sheds any light on this situation. But it strikes me, given his insistence that duty must come first, that Fr Doyle would understand and approve of this step.

Lots of media refer to the abdication of Pope Gregory XII in 1415 as the last time a Pope resigned. However, this resignation was part of a deal to end a schism. The last time a pope freely resigned in non-controversial circumstances such as this was Pope Celestine V in 1294. Significantly, he was later canonised.

Pope Benedict visited his relics in Aquila and left his pallium on the tomb. See images below.

May Pope St Celestine V, and all of the holy popes and other saints in Heaven pray for the Church in this time of great importance.


Celestine 1

Thoughts for February 11 (Our Lady of Lourdes) from Fr Willie Doyle

Almost the first thing which caught my eye at the grotto was our Lady’s words: “Penitence, penitence, penitence”. On leaving, I asked Jesus had He any message to give me. The same flashed suddenly into my mind and made a deep impression on me.

COMMENT: Today is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Fr Doyle visited the shrine in November 1912, and today’s quote summarises his spiritual experience there.

This reflection on Lourdes is utterly characteristic of Fr Doyle, who had such a horror for sin and combined this with a special vocation for reparation for sin.

In almost all approved Marian apparitions, Our Lady urges us to prayer and penance. Yes, she also comes to tell us of the love of God, and often reveals this love through miraculous healings and other graces. But just like in the Gospel, penance remains central to the message. Let us remember these thoughts as we come closer to Lent.