Pope Benedict XVI on Monday announced he will resign on February 28, a Vatican spokesperson told AFP, which will make him the first pope to do so in centuries.
“The pope announced that he will leave his ministry at 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) on February 28,” said the spokesperson, Federico Lombardi.
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. 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 govern the bark 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.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
I just hope he doesn’t let the door hit him in the ass…
Pope’s resignation was not forced by health issues, spokesman says
CNN, By Laura Smith-Spark & Hada Messia, February 12
Rome – Pope Benedict XVI is not suffering from any specific disease that forced him to resign, his spokesman said Tuesday, a day after the news that he was stepping down shocked the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
The pontiff is resigning because he does not feel he has the strength to continue, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said.
Lombardi emphasized that Benedict remains pope until February 28, when his resignation takes effect.
He dismissed reports in an Italian newspaper that the pope’s decision was linked to a medical intervention to replace the battery in his pacemaker, saying that had been a routine procedure.
love the Italian taxi driver quote at the end of the CSM article.
“I can’t believe it – first the government is about to end, now it’s the papacy that’s in trouble,” says Marco, a taxi driver. “Everything is falling apart. I’ll be sad to see Benedict go. He was a bit cold and German, but he was a decent man.”
Pope blesses thousands at Vatican as details of ailments emerge
Los Angeles Times, By Tom Kington, February 17
Vatican City – A week after Pope Benedict announced his resignation, more than 50,000 supporters jammed into St. Peter’s Square on Sunday for his next-to-last weekly blessing, as it emerged the aging pontiff may have gone blind in one eye.
Addressing the cheering crowd, which was larger than usual for the Sunday Angelus, Benedict appeared to criticize the infighting that has plagued the Vatican during his reign.
New evidence is emerging of Benedict’s declining physical condition. Peter Seewald, a German journalist who has interviewed Benedict on numerous occasions, said that when he last saw the pope 10 weeks ago, his hearing had deteriorated and he appeared to have gone blind in his left eye.
“His body had become so thin that the tailors had difficulty in keeping up with newly fitted clothes. … I’d never seen him so exhausted-looking, so worn down,” he told Focus, a German magazine, on Saturday.
Report: Pope resigned in wake of gay priest scandal
Pope transfers top official amid speculation about report on Vatican leaks scandal.
USA Today, By Doug Stanglin, February 22
The Italian media is reporting that Pope Benedict XVI resigned after receiving the results of an internal investigation, delivered in a 300-page, two-volume dossier, that laid bare a sordid tale of blackmail, corruption and gay sex at the Vatican.
The respected Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported Friday that the report stamped “Pontifical Secret,” contained “an exact map of the mischief and the bad fish” inside the Holy See.
The newspaper said the findings of the nine-month investigation, headed by Spanish cardinal, Julian Herranz , with the assistance of Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, former archbishop of Palermo, and Slovak cardinal Jozef Tomko, was delivered to the pope on Dec. 17, 2012.
“It was on that day, with those papers on his desk, that Benedict XVI took the decision he had mulled over for so long,” the newspaper said.
“What’s coming out is a very detailed X-ray of the Roman Curia that does not spare even the closest collaborators of the pope,” respected Vatican expert Ignazio Ingrao writes in Panorama. “The pope was no stranger to the intrigues, but he probably did not know that under his pontificate there was such a complex network and such intricate chains of personal interests and unmentionable relationships.”
In final Sunday blessing, Pope says he isn’t ‘abandoning’ church
Los Angeles Times, By Tom Kington, February 24
Vatican City – In his last Sunday address in St. Peter’s Square before leaving his post, Pope Benedict XVI said he was following God’s wishes by stepping down and would not abandon the Roman Catholic Church.
Addressing a crowd of about 100,000 flag-waving well-wishers, Benedict said, “The Lord is calling me to climb onto the mountain, to dedicate myself even more to prayer and meditation.”
The 85-year-old pontiff then added: “This does not mean abandoning the church. Actually, if God asks this of me, it is precisely because I can continue to serve her with the same dedication and the same love I have shown so far.”
On Saturday the Vatican’s secretariate of state issued a strongly worded statement condemning Italian news reports last week of intrigue, rivalries and homosexual activity within the Vatican, all of which were purported to have pushed the pope to resign.
“It is deplorable that as we draw closer to the time of the beginning of the conclave … that there be a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories that cause serious damage to persons and institutions,” the statement said.