Carol Zaleski

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Pope Benedict XVI is the latest of a small number of popes to resign the chair of St. Peter. The most famous of these — the one whose resignation had all the earmarks of an abdication — was Pietro del Morrone, Pope Celestine V, the saintly Benedictine hermit who resigned in 1294 after only a few months, realizing that he was called to serve his church through prayer and penance rather than bitter politics and gorgeous, endless public ceremonies.

It was a decision Benedict honored. In July 2010 he attended the celebration of the 800th anniversary of Celestine’s birth in Sulmona, Italy, and spoke of this medieval pontiff’s capacity for inner silence and “vivid experience of the beauty of creation.”…  Seguir leyendo »