Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85.
The unexpected development surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even the 85-year-old’s closest aides.
The Vatican says it expects a new Pope to be elected before the end of March, ahead of Easter.
Papal resignations are not unknown, but this is the first in the modern era.
I literally did a mental check to be sure it wasn’t April 1. But this evidently is the case. It’s a very different tack for Popes, who generally have believed they were called to “die in the traces”. Benedict believes he is not able to lead the Catholic Church as it needs and as he should, so he is stepping down before he is totally incapacitated or dies. This paves the way for a less traumatic and disruptive transition. Speaking as a non-Catholic, an interesting and, IMO, wise choice.
I hope it all works out for the best.
I certainly agree with Pete; although I daresay there will be the usual contingent saying that he is resigning because he has something to hide.
Reading the article confirmed my first guess - although, without saying as much.
And my guess is that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another mentally debilitating desease, and is man enough to admit that it makes him incapable of fulfilling his duties as Pope.
If such is the case, I very much admire him.
Great minds think alike. Whatever his reason they are his own and should be respected.
This made me sad.
well a pope hasnt resigned in almost 600 years, so it certainly is odd.
It is the most honest and admirable thing a person could do.
The thought of him having Alzheimer’s is sad. It’s a horrible disease.
And it’s also relatively recent that the medical profession has been capable of diagnosing mental incapacity, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, due to old age.
So, maybe ‘new’, but I don’t think so ‘odd’ in this day and age.
Heck, maybe the guy, fraught with so much against his pure beliefs simply gave up. How are we to know? All we know is that he gave up freely.
The Catholic Church will not die out because of it.
OOPS! LATE EDIT: Of course I meant to say, “The CC will NOT die out because of it.”
8 years in office is too short for a pope and too long for BHO.
I heard on the radio today that he was looking at how hard the last years of John Paul were both on him and the church. He said it would be better for the church for him to resign when his health is making it difficult for him to perform his duties.
I thought he was looking very frail lately—extremely thin and gaunt. I think he’s been a great pope. Let’s keep him in our prayers–and for the conclave who will be electing the next pope.
This article has the full text of the Pope’s resignation statement:
Pope Benedict Resignation: Full Text of Official Vatican Announcement
By Daniel Blake, Christian Post Contributor
February 11, 2013|10:06 am
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.
However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to steer the boat of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.
For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
BTW, I did not quote the full statement, just the parts in which he explained his choice.
As always, a man of great honor, courage, and humility. God bless him. (The pope, that is! :redface:)
Just a little historical perspective on a point the MSM have been partially missing … Benedict XIV is the first Pope to resign since 1415. That is a correct statistic, but that’s as far as the analogy goes - both resigned. Gregory XII resigned at the culmination of a time when there were, for decades, 2-4 claimants to the position of Pope. He was declared the true Pope out of that mess by the Council of Constance (which cut that Gordian Knot, among other things), though his resignation to enable a “clean start” may have been part of the deal. The 14th, 15th and 16th Centuries were a horrible time for the Papacy (some, at least, of the 13th as well), many of whom were awful or worse. One cannot begin to understand Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, Zwingli and Calvin (among others) isolated from this context.
But the MSM, in “covering” Benedict’s resignation, largely don’t know this and don’t care.