Photo: People pray and sing religious songs as they pay tribute to Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Feb. 27, the eve of the pope’s resignation. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 

This morning, I was awoke earlier than usual which gave me an opportunity to watch some of the Cardinals saying their good byes to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI as he brings his pontificate to a close in a few hours from now.  The deep reverence and affection of the Cardinals was evident on their faces.  The brief exchanges with our Holy Father were obviously heartfelt and reciprocated. The Holy Father in turn radiated the serenity and joy of a holy man whose true touchstone in life is and has been always an intimate union with God the Father though Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.

What a contrast there was between this familial encounter with a beloved Pope and his Cardinals and the degrading chatter of the commentators on the Spanish channel.  They spoke consistently of one theme, sex abuse, and then added in a tidbit or two of so-called scandals of which they had no evidence because none has been presented.  Be ready folks for a barrage of speculation in which the so called “experts” are going to be their fellow media show offs. Their “sources” are one another. They even spoke of an encyclical that the Pope never published and which no one has ever seen and then went on to comment on what they admitted was a non existent letter!

During the audience with the Cardinals, Pope Benedict pledged his total and complete loyalty and fidelity to the next Vicar of Christ, the Pontiff the Cardinals will elect, guided by the Holy Spirit, in these next weeks.  Pray for them every day. Rejoice in the splendor of the Church which is not the sum of her defects but the sum of God’s love and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  And remember what our dear Holy Father has left us: the heritage of the Church of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, faithful to her Founder, Jesus Christ and, seeking always to do the will of the Father.  As Pope Benedict said last week, “The future is ours because the future is God’s.”