“Pope Benedict XVI has powerfully defended the unborn and protected rights of conscience during his papacy.  This legacy will be remembered not only by those in the pro-life movement, but by all who honor the human person as unique and worthy of protection” noted AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (02-11-13) Today, Pope Benedict XVI announced his forthcoming resignation from the Holy See, stating, “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”

Americans United for Life President and CEO, Dr. Charmaine Yoest honored the Pope’s contribution to building the culture of life, commenting, “Pope Benedict XVI throughout his life has consistently taught the modern world that genuine progress for humankind cannot take place without a renewed and radical commitment to the dignity of each human life.  The Pope’s contribution to defending the unborn and his support of rights of conscience transcend any particular religion and creed because these are basic human rights.”

The Pope advanced understanding of the importance of a defense of life to society.  Writing  in the papal encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), he said:  ‘Openness to life is at the center of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fiber and makes people capable of mutual help.’

Following the death of Pope John Paul II, the College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope in 2005, who then took the name of Pope Benedict XVI.  His legacy has been one which emphasized the issue of life and exhorted the Church to love.  He stated, “Nothing we do to defend the human person, no matter how small, is ever unfruitful or forgotten. Our actions touch other lives and move other hearts in ways we can never fully understand in this world.”

Yoest added:  “We are saddened that the Pontiff’s declining health has led to his conscientious decision to resign his ministry as Bishop of Rome.  He has been a source of inspiration to men and women of good will around the world.”