Brookline Pastor Surprised by Pope Benedict's Resignation

A Pope has not resigned since Pope Gregory XII.

Father Brian Clary of Saint Mary’s of the Assumption was at the gym when he saw the breaking news flash that Pope Benedict XVI was resigning on February 28.


“I was totally surprised. At first, I thought it was an Internet hoax,” Father Brian said. “ I thought he had resigned as a Twitter user.”

The 85-year-old Pontiff announced his resignation on Monday for health concerns. Benedict made the announcement of his resignation at a Monday morning meeting in the Vatican, according to an article on Boston.com. He has served in the role since 2005.

“I think it is a remarkable time to announce his resignation on the World Day of the Sick,” Father Brian said.  “Pope John Paul II designated February 11 as a day of sharing. He asked people to see the face of Christ in the sick and the suffering. Pope Benedict’s resignation gives an example of frailty and the limitations of humanity.”

In a speech to Vatican cardinals, Benedict referred to his own deteriorating strength and mind, saying he felt incapable of adequately carrying out the ministry entrusted to him. “At age 85, it has to be a lot to lead billions of Catholics world wide,” Father Brian said. “If you think about it, Ronald Reagan was 77 when he left office. That’s how old Pope Benedict was when he became the Pope.”

Pope Gregory XII is the only other Pope to have resigned, something that hasn’t been done in 600 years.

Father Brian said that the Pontiff’s contributions on the Church will have a lasting impact.


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