|Rome - Italy
Rome, February 22, 2013
On behalf of the Order of St. Augustine, I want to express, in words that are all too inadequate, our deepest sentiments of gratitude, loyalty, admiration and support for you, for all you have done for the Church during your years of service, and for the great courage you have shown in taking the decision to resign from the Petrine ministry at this time.
Many things come to mind that I could state here: from your clear teaching and promoting of the faith, the search for truth, your vision of the Church, the efforts to promote unity, the difficult challenge of promoting dialogue and rational reflection among the different religions of the world, the magnificent encyclicals, and of course, not to be underestimated, your love for Saint Augustine, expressed so frequently in the many discourses, homilies, writings, etc., during the years of your Pontificate.
Your unwavering leadership on the tragic and painful issue of sexual abuse has also been highly significant, and your valiant determination to address the issue, as well as your exemplary pastoral sense and humility that inspired you to ask for pardon from victims, has done so much good for members of the Church, not to mention others outside who watch ever so carefully how the Church responds to this painful and com-plicated issue.
On a more personal level, I would also like to thank you for the many gestures, small and large, that you made toward the Order of St. Augustine. Of special importance was your visit to the church of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro in Pavia, where the tomb of Saint Augustine is reverenced and cared for by the Augustinians. That evening in particular and the precious gift of your time dedicated to visit this important place, within the busy context of a pastoral visit to the Dioceses of Vigevano and Pavia, was deeply appreciated by all the members of the Augustinian Order and will remain in our memory for many years to come.
Your decision to create as Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church our confrere, His Eminence Prospero Grech, was also a great honor for the Order, and as indicated the following day, a gesture that was clearly in recognition of Cardinal Grech’s faithful service to the Church over so many years. But it was also viewed and understood, at least among Augustinians, as a sign of your recognition and appreciation for the work of the Order, perhaps most especially in the Istituto Patristico Augustinianum, of which Cardinal Grech was a co-founder, and whose work continues today, in the promotion of study of all the Fathers of the Church, eastern and western.
Your Holiness, the Augustinian Family will remain always faithful to the Successor of St. Peter, and in a special way, we will always remember you, especially with our prayers. May the grace of God continue to accompany you and may He fill you always with His peace.
With filial affection,
Robert F. Prevost
Prior General OSA