BREAKING: Pope Benedict XVI Resigning

Filed in National by on February 11, 2013

I have no idea what to make of this:

Dear Brothers,
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

BENEDICTUS PP XVI

He will step down on February 28, 2013.

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Comments (22)

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  1. puck says:

    I think a) he may have some unannounced illness and b) he fears liberalization of the Church and wants to be around to influence the choice of his successor. Without him glowering over the conclave they may well pick someone more liberal.

    When JPII was obviously infirm and speculation about resigning came up, he said “What, I should climb down from the cross?” Pope is a lifetime appointment and it is bad news to have two popes. Perhaps he is ill and is counting on being gone by the time the next pope is chosen.

  2. John Young says:

    I bet Aaron Sorkin is hoping for a Newsroom-ish backstory for season 2. Like who really wrote that letter or did someone embezzle from the Holy bank.

  3. TC says:

    He met somebody.

  4. Delaware Dem says:

    I think a number of things play into this, assuming there is no conspiracy and we are being told the real reasons he is stepping down.

    First, in the early 2000’s when John Paul II was very ill and weak with Parkinson’s, I remember there being a newstory about why he didn’t just resign, and a lot of the Vatican officials were quoted as saying that such things were not done, how dare we speak of it, and the like. And John Paul was quoted as saying something to the affect of we watched him live and we will watch him die.

    In this day and age when it is very possible for Popes to live to advanced years and not be able to travel and speak at masses, I think Benedict realizes that in the modern age that is a no go and a precedent needed to be set in the modern era of a Pope resigning.

    Second, I think Benedict very much wants to directly chose his successor, and this is the only way he can do it.

  5. X Stryker says:

    Maybe he realized the Death Star will never be fully operational.

  6. Dave says:

    Pope Benedict was elected as a interim caretaker. There was no one who could or who wanted to try to fill John Paul’s shoes and any non-caretaker Pope was always going to be compared to JP (and probably fail). Benedict’s purpose was to create separation between JP and a new Pope. Of course, Popes are never simply caretakers but one of Benedict’s key missions was clear – create time and space between JP and those who follow. He accomplished that goal. Now he is old and ill and can longer keep pace with the demans of the job.

    Recall, that Benedict (Ratzinger) was going to resign. His election interrupted that plan. If elected, you cannot refuse. No conspiracy, just a practiced chain of succession that has been going on for many lifetimes. The last resignation was over 600 years ago. So, while it’s not routine event, it’s not unheard of. Sometimes the Church seems to be an enigma. I think it’s because to most people, history is measured in decades or tens of decades. As a nation we’ve had 44 presidents. The Church has had 265 popes.

  7. Jason330 says:

    The Great Schism was ended was ended when Gregory the 12th accepted a VERY sweet retirement package. I think Benedict, similarly, is accepting not having arrest warrants sworn out in his name.

  8. “Ratz Leaves Sinking Ship”.

  9. Delaware Dem says:

    El Som for the win.

  10. puck says:

    “I think Benedict, similarly, is accepting not having arrest warrants sworn out in his name.”

    Another reason for needing to choose your successor.

  11. pandora says:

    Yeah, I can’t help thinking this is a lot more than old age/poor health. I never liked/approved of Ratzinger. And the idea that he reluctantly took on the position of pope as a some sort of suffering placeholder doesn’t ring true. People who are serious about retiring actually retire.

    This resignation holds the same sway as a politician citing spending more time with their family. Also… what Jason and puck said.

  12. Dave says:

    “People who are serious about retiring actually retire.”

    1. I intended to retire and was serious. I haven’t gotten around to it yet though.
    2. There are plenty of examples of – when the President calls…
    3. Regardless, one cannot apply that same logic to the Papacy. When one is elected, one does not refuse. As I said, no one could fill JP’s shoes and no one wanted to try, including Ratzinger.

  13. geezer says:

    @El Som: *rimshot*

  14. cassandra m says:

    Interesting timing too — presumably they would elect someone to be Pope just in time for the Easter. Ratzinger has appointed the majority of the current voting Cardinals (the reason, I think, why he took the job) meaning that the rightward turn of the Church is probably secure. My cynical self also thinks that Ratzinger’s legacy in this Church is not a good one and selflessly resigning might be a way of leaving people with a more congenial memory of him.

  15. Michelle M says:

    El Som for the win

  16. John Manifold says:

    Delaware’s Snuky Tate:

    He ain’t no dope; ’cause he’s the Pope.

  17. SussexAnon says:

    Ratzinger wasn’t just an interim seat filler. He took the church backwards. And thats saying a lot considering where the church is on most everything in society. Latin mass? Change the Profession of Faith? A genius way to bring people back to the fold. Not.

    A once every 600 year event is exceptional even by Church standards.

    When he was elected I was rooting for the black pope. Instead we they chose the nazi. But he does have fabulous taste in shoes.

    El Som for the win.

  18. puck says:

    “He took the church backwards. ”

    And he accomplished most of that before he became pope, as JP2’s second in command and head of the old Inquisition office. He laid the framework for the Church’s newly resurgent conservative positions, which will long outlive him.

  19. TeleMan says:

    I think TC should get honorable mention. I’m using that.

  20. Dave says:

    “Latin Mass?”

    A great many people have an affection for the Tridentine Mass. I fail to see how allowing the people to worship in the language they choose drives people away from the faith. In fact it is just the opposite. The demise of the Tridentine Mass did drive people away and it’s restoration has brought some back. For those who like English (or whatever language) are free to avail themselves of that. Actually, the Tridentine Mass was always kind of special to me. I could go to mass in any country and it was the same mass; the same language. We all spoke the Latin (or at least worship in that language).

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  22. SANDFLY says:

    Too many sex scandles with little boys and his Hitler Youth pass for the old guy.