A year after the announcement about the historic abdication of Pope Benedict XVI, Cardiff’s Catholic community reflects on the event and the changes that have followed.
In a statement today, Archbishop of Cardiff George Stack said: “Although it seems much longer, it was just one year ago that Pope Benedict XVI shocked the Catholic Church and the world at large by announcing his decision to resign the Papacy.”
“This courageous act of humility has opened the door to the Papacy of Pope Francis who seems to have taken the world by storm.”
Deacon Michael Doyle from St. Dyfrig’s, Treforest said: “ I think most Catholics will remember where they were this day last year. For me, I was still at Allen Hall seminary in Chelsea and I remember being in one of the corridors when my fellow Cardiff students, funny enough, said ‘have you heard the news’.”
“You just couldn’t believe it. There was a deep sense of shock, I know there was shock back here, speaking to people back here.”
“I did cry, I’ll admit that one,” Deacon Doyle added. “It’s been a year now, things have started to settle. He (Pope Francis) has been a great breeze for the church. The air that comes in.”
“Not that Benedict stifled,” he added. “Benedict did anything but because it is, in that, he had opened the windows for the changes to start happening.”
The German-born Pope Emeritus Benedict, officially retired on February 28, the day the world and his nation saw the first abdication of a Pope in 600 years.
Marc Schweissinger, a lecturer at Cardiff University’s German faculty, spoke about the reaction in Germany after the former Pope stepped down.
He said: “The serious press, if you compare, the serious press and the “boulevard press”, has always had its reservations.”
The yellow press of course were celebrating. The Bild Zeitung, which is equivalent to the Sun wrote: “we are Pope.”
When he resigned, they wrote: ‘Wir sind endlich nicht mehr Papst’ which means ‘thank God we’re not a Pope anymore.”