Latin translation: Pope’s resignation speech

February 12, 2013

Yesterday’s big news was the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Giovanna Chirri happened to be the Italian reporter privilged with breaking the news. The reason that she got this opportunity? One article explains, she “managed to translate the pope’s Latin resignation speech and file while her rivals were still puzzling it out.” See, you never know when Latin will come in handy. Giovanna also stated, “Benedict XVI’s Latin is very easy to understand .” Below is a copy of the Pope’s resignation in Latin:

Fratres carissimi

Non solum propter tres canonizationes ad hoc Consistorium vos convocavi, sed etiam ut vobis decisionem magni momenti pro Ecclesiae vita communicem. Conscientia mea iterum atque iterum coram Deo explorata ad cognitionem certam perveni vires meas ingravescente aetate non iam aptas esse ad munus Petrinum aeque administrandum.

Bene conscius sum hoc munus secundum suam essentiam spiritualem non solum agendo et loquendo exsequi debere, sed non minus patiendo et orando. Attamen in mundo nostri temporis rapidis mutationibus subiecto et quaestionibus magni ponderis pro vita fidei perturbato ad navem Sancti Petri gubernandam et ad annuntiandum Evangelium etiam vigor quidam corporis et animae necessarius est, qui ultimis mensibus in me modo tali minuitur, ut incapacitatem  meam ad ministerium mihi commissum bene  administrandum agnoscere debeam. Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commissum renuntiare  ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave  ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.

Fratres carissimi, ex toto corde gratias ago vobis pro omni amore et labore, quo mecum pondus ministerii mei portastis et veniam peto pro omnibus defectibus meis. Nunc autem Sanctam Dei Ecclesiam curae Summi eius Pastoris, Domini nostri Iesu Christi confidimus sanctamque eius Matrem Mariam imploramus, ut patribus Cardinalibus in eligendo novo Summo Pontifice materna sua bonitate assistat. Quod ad me attinet etiam in futuro vita orationi dedicata Sanctae Ecclesiae Dei toto ex corde servire velim.

My translation:

Beloved Brothers,

Not only on behalf of three canonizations have I called you to this meeting, but also so that I may communicate to you my decision, which is of great importance to the church. Having examined my conscience again and again, I have come to the certain recognition that my strength, due my frail age, is no longer fit for the proper administration of the Petrine Ministry.

I am conscious that this ministry, due to its spiritual essence, ought to be conducted not only by action and speech, but no less by suffering and prayer. Nevertheless, our world has been subjected to times of rapid change and upset by questions of weighty depth for the life of faith, so that the navigation of Saint Peter’s ship and the proclamation of the gospel necessitate a certain vigor of both body and soul, which in these last months has diminished in me in a great way, so that I must recognize my inability to rightly administer my charge. Therefore, conscious of this burden, I declare with full freedom this action, that I am stepping down from my ministry of the Roman Episcopate, as successor of Saint Peter, which was commissioned to me through the hands of the Cardinals on the 19th of April, 2005, so that from the 28th of February 2013, at the hour of 8 PM, the seat of Rome, the seat of Saint Peter, may be empty and a chamber for electing a new Pontificate ought to be formed by those who are competent.

Beloved Brothers, with my whole heart I thank you for all your love and labor, by which you bore with me the weight of the ministry, and I ask for pardon for all my failings. Now we entrust the holy church of God to the care of its Chief Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ, and we ask His holy mother Mary that her maternal goodness would assist the Cardinal Fathers as they choose the new Pontificate. As for what remains for me and my future: I want to serve with my whole heart by offering prayer on behalf of God’s holy church.

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