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Benedict's resignation was a courageous act of conscience, Pope Francis says

Catholic World News - July 01, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI offered a “great example” of following one’s conscience when he announced his plan to resign, Pope Francis told his midday Angelus audience on June 30.

“When the Lord made it clear, in prayer, what was the step [Benedict] had to take, he followed, with a great sense of discernment and courage, his conscience,” the Pope said.

Pope Francis had devoted his Sunday talk to conscience, noting that Jesus “extends invitations” to his followers, but never compels them. “He always invites us; He does not impose,” the Pope observed.

In this way the Lord shows how much He treasures human freedom and wants willing assent, the Pope continued. He remarked that God is not looking for “remote-controlled Christians, incapable of creativity, who always seek to connect with the will of another.”

Following one’s conscience “does not mean we ought to follow our ego,” the Pope cautioned. “Conscience is the interior space in which we can listen to and hear the truth, the good, the voice of God.”

It is because Benedict XVI heard the voice of God that he freely chose to resign, Pope Francis said. In this regard the dramatic action was “of benefit to all of us, as an example to follow.”

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