We use our own and third party cookies to improve your user experience; by continuing to browse, we understand that you accept their use. You can get more information on our cookies policy.

Rome Reports

You are using an outdated browser

In order to deliver the greatest experience to our visitors we use cutting edge web development techniques that require a modern browser. To view this page please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer 11 or greater

Cardinal Castrillón: "Benedict XVI's resignation was a contribution, not a failure"

Five years have passed since the resignation of Benedict XVI and with each year, more details emerge from that historic day. Each member of the College of Cardinals reacted to the news in a different way. For Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, he had just returned from the Holy Land.

"The enormous surprise came when the pope began to speak, in the way he always does.

Then, he began to talk about the present and his resignation in the immediate future. I looked at the cardinals and thought: 'Surely they do not understand what he is saying. The pope is saying he is going to resign, but he was doing it in Latin.'"

Darío Castrillón and Joseph Ratzinger were friends for a long time. They saw each other in meetings, at the Second Vatican Council and even traveled together to Colombia. Nowadays they have time to chat and walk in the Vatican Gardens every so often. 

"I've had the joy of sometimes finding him in the Vatican gardens and it's always a pleasure to listen to Pope Ratzinger. Yes, you can see his mental health is very good."

It had been 598 years since a pope retired from the pontificate. The cardinal assures that when Benedict communicated his resignation, the College of Cardinals made a unanimous decision: there was only room for one pope. 

He explains that Benedict's decision should not be seen as a failure, but as a contribution to the Catholic Church. It is a responsible decision.

"In his case, the resignation was a contribution. He was not a man who fails, but a man who delivers. He delivered a treasure because at that moment he considered that this treasure must be maintained and must be kept alive. It was a very big surprise, but I knew him before as a student, and what happened when he was named bishop."

But... what were the reasons for Benedict's resignation? The cardinal says that Joseph Ratzinger felt overwhelmed, because he knew that he could no longer quickly respond to the demands of the Church.

"He didn't have time to study because he was constantly meeting with people. He had to give immediate answers because each time a group arrived, they demanded something from him. Meanwhile, he as a teacher, always prepared addresses well in a theological and historical way, and knew the Old to the New Testaments in the Bible. He was unable to continue doing that and this... destroyed him, let's say it like that."

With his words, the profound admiration of Cardinal Darío Castrillón for Benedict is evident. He is a man who at 90 years old is still dedicated to his passion: theological study. A man who showed that giving up does not mean abandoning, but acting responsibly.