February 11 is a holiday in the Vatican. It is the day when the Holy See celebrates the settlement in 1929 of the so-called “Roman Question”, the resolution of the 59-year stand-off between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See after the fall of Rome in 1870 to the Kingdom’s troops and the effective end of the ancient Papal States in central Italy.
By chance it was also the day Pope Benedict XVI chose to resign.
The date had been scheduled for a small consistory, comprising midday prayer and the announcement by Cardinal Angelo Amato of some beati due to be promoted to saints. There had also been a little gentle buzz for some time in the Roman Curia about the Holy Father announcing one or two important changes then, perhaps near the top of the administration, but these kinds of rumours circle like the seagulls around the Vatican’s Belvedere: they come round frequently, make a bit of noise and go away again. In other words, as in most places, nothing happens until it happens.
There was no indication that this day was going to be any different. It was also a holiday, and although the rest of the Curia was enjoying a rest, the few people around the person of the Holy Father, including myself, were to be on duty in the Apostolic Palace’s Sala del Concistoro to welcome him as he went to pray with the cardinals present in Rome and to go through the short ceremony.
Continue reading HERE.
You can find SS102fm coverage of the papal abdication in 2013 HERE.