Do I look pale? If I do, I have cause -...

Benedictus

Cardinal Fiore

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Do I look pale? If I do, I have cause - the burden of my present duty. It weighs on me, and momentarily must weigh on you as well. It concerns Benedictus, a saint among us, chosen by heaven to bear, in his lifetime, the very marks of Christ. Yet age and infirmity spare not even Christ's highest representative on earth. The burden I must share with you today is the mental decline of Benedictus. Yes, sad to say, he has lately fallen into decline. That he is saintly in any state of mind I need not affirm. That heaven has selected him to bear the stigmata speaks more eloquently to that point than any mere human ever could. But, chosen as he has been, there have been many popes, but there is only one church. Blessed as he is, he remains mortal, and the Church eternal. So our first thought must now be for the overall wellbeing of Mother Church. Even more regrettably, it is precisely because of his saintliness that we must act – and swiftly. Heavy as the duty is, we must immediately announce, as the result of his mental decline, his retirement and select his successor. I know, I know. Many of you object. Many others will urge deliberation. But each day we wait devout Benedictus could misjudge his duty and announce his resignation to the world – not only announce it, but even worse, use it to embark on teachings that contradict the very foundations of our faith. Catastrophic! I need not tell you that the effects of such a misjudgment would be catastrophic for the Church. So, fellow members of the College of Cardinals, I urge you, think not of your disinclination to vote for this saintly Pope's retirement, but of the consequences of inaction for our holy Mother, the Church. Think, too, that our intention is merely to speed him to a tranquil retirement, so that he may devote the remainder of his time on earth to prayerful solitude.

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