Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr offers mass for Pope Benedict XVI [Video]
By John Stegeman
The Catholic Telegraph
(Video & full text of homily below)
Just two days before it ends, Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr celebrated a Mass of Thanksgivings for the Petrine Ministry of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI Tuesday morning at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains in downtown Cincinnati.
With a handful of concelebrating priests, a Knights of Columbus honor guard and a better than average attended rainy weekday mass congregation, Archbishop Schnurr spoke highly of Pope Benedict during his homily.
Archbishop Schnurr called the pope a humble man, and called his resignation an act of courage and love.
“By acknowledging the weakness of age and standing aside, Pope Benedict made room for the Holy Spirit to call forth in a new Pentecost the gifts the gifts the Church and world need to face these challenging times,” the archbishop said.
His homily can be viewed in its entirety in the video below. Also below is the complete text of the homily in written form.
Mass for Pope Benedict XVI
Homily of Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr
Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains
February 26, 2013
In his very first public remarks after being elected pope in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI referred to himself as a humble man. To those who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square, he stated, “Dear brothers and sisters, after the great John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me – a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.” He meant, of course, that he came from an ordinary family background and a small German town. He is also a humble man who would rather have taught theology at a university than be called to responsibilities at the Vatican. He moved to the Vatican in humble obedience to Pope John Paul II, and he never lost his humble approach.
Frequently, when I was in Rome, I would see then-Cardinal Ratzinger in St. Peter’s Square where he would mingle with the people while garbed in a simple black cassock. There was no indication that he was a cardinal. Often he was “drafted” by a group to serve as their photographer. This he did willingly and with a generous smile. As far as the group members were concerned, they had just been assisted by one of the local priests — and Cardinal Ratzinger was quite content to depart with that understanding.
Some commentators at the time spoke about “politics” before and during the conclave. Pope Benedict XVI is too humble a man to engage in such activity. His respect for the papacy would not allow him to demean it by such activity.
Elected pope at the age of seventy-eight, Pope Benedict XVI could not have been expected to continue the hectic schedule of worldwide travel that allowed his predecessor Pope John Paul II to log nearly 800,000 miles and visit 129 countries. But he brought his own talents and gifts to the papacy. He is a brilliant theologian and philosopher. I first met Cardinal Ratzinger over twenty years ago when I served in the General Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and, when I traveled to Rome in 2010 to receive the pallium and again last year for the ad limina visit, Pope Benedict recalled my days as General Secretary. Though a man who enjoys his privacy, Pope Benedict XVI is unfailingly kind, hospitable, and welcoming. Ultimately, he is a very pastoral man.
Oftentimes terms such as “hardliner” or “ultra-conservative” conjure up images that fall short of reality. Pope Benedict XVI is a man of deep faith who wishes to voice the authentic teachings of Jesus and wishes, as well, to help others experience the joy (Jn. 15:11), peace (Jn. 14:27), and fullness of life (Jn. 10:10) that Jesus promises to those who live by these truths.
Pope Benedict is a humble, courageous man who, out of love for his people – the faithful shepherd, who out of love for his flock – stunned the Church and the world with the unprecedented announcement on February 11 that he would renounce the papacy and retire to a life of prayer and study. As is often the case when our Church makes headlines, rumor and speculation abound. In the midst of the media buzz and the inevitable prophecies of doom, our Holy Father’s own prayerful, humble, and generous spirit witnessed to the truth: that his was “a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.” In announcing his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI has acted humbly and unselfishly for the good of the Church. That same spirit has characterized his entire life of service.
By acknowledging the weakness of age and standing aside, Pope Benedict made room for the Holy Spirit to call forth, in a new Pentecost, the gifts that the Church and the world need to face these challenging times. His was a courageous choice.
So while we may have questions and uncertainties as the Church enters this time of transition, we can take courage, too. We know that Jesus is the true head of his Church, and He has not left us alone. As the first reading taken from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel reassures us, “Thus says the Lord God: I myself will look after and tend my sheep.”
In the gospel today, Jesus speaks the words, “I am the good shepherd,” and then He defines what it means to be a good shepherd: “A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Pope Benedict has given his life in service to God and His Church.
In 2006, Pope Benedict wrote the following in his Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est:
“There are times when the burden of need and our own limitations might tempt us to become discouraged. But precisely then we are helped by the knowledge that, in the end, we are only instruments in the Lord’s hands; and this knowledge frees us from the presumption of thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility, we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord. It is God who governs the world, not we. We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength.”
At this Mass, we pray in gratitude to God for the generosity of his good and faithful servant, Pope Benedict XVI, and we ask God to continue to bless him in the forthcoming years that he wishes to dedicate to study, reflection, and prayer.