Pope Benedict, citing age, announces he will resign

UPDATED STORYCiting health reasons, Pope Benedict announces he will resign

VATICAN CITY —  Saying he no longer has the strength to exercise ministry over the universal church, Pope Benedict XVI announced Feb. 11 that he would be resigning at the end of the month.

“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,” the pope told cardinals gathered for an ordinary public consistory to approve the canonization of new saints.

Pope Benedict, who was elected in April 2005, will be the first pope to resign in almost 600 years.

He told the cardinals, “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 St. 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.”

The pope has had increasingly trouble walking in the past year, often using a cane and always being assisted getting up and down steps. However, the Vatican has never released medical information that would make it appear the pope suffers from anything other than joint pain connected to his age.

The option of a pope to resign is explicitly written into the Code of Canon Law. It says a pope may step down, but stipulates that the decision must be made freely and “duly manifested.”

Fulfilling the canonical requirement, Pope Benedict solemnly declared to the cardinals, “Well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. 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 St. Peter, will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new supreme pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.”

It is up to the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, to make preparations for a conclave to elect a new pope.

Before ending his remarks, Pope Benedict told the cardinals, “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.”

The pope made no mention of his future plans, other than to say, “I wish to also devotedly serve the holy church of of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.”

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10 Responses to Pope Benedict, citing age, announces he will resign

  1. David Nicoll says:

    Heartbroken. Pope Benedict has been an inspiration to so many. He leaves a gaping hole in the life of the Church. Our next leader follows on from two of the greatest Popes of the modern era.

  2. uscma81 says:

    Reblogged this on United States Catholic Mission Association and commented:
    May the Lord bless Pope Benedict XVI for his many years of service.

  3. Beverly Stevens says:

    God has a plan. Benedict himself knows this. He has dedicated his life to the Church, so he REALLY knows this. Remember, he was JPII’s closest confidant for the years when he led the Church so he knows what a vigorous, young Shepherd can do.

    We all need to get together with other faithful Catholics and pray for Benedict and for a strong, new pope to lead the Church.

    THIS should be our Lenten goal.

  4. saintpio1 says:

    LOTS of prayers are needed in selecting a new pope. Cardinal Ratzinger did not want the job when he accepted it. But has served well as our Pope.
    Let us pray to all the great saints that they select the new Pope because in this day and age of evil – we must not let evil have it’s way!
    St Pio, Venerable Bishop Sheen, St Jude, St Theresa, Blessed Mother PRAY FOR US !!!!!

  5. Max says:

    Wat a bad way to start our Lenten campaign. Anyhow may u b blessed 4 u r great inspirations to the modern era n may find joy n peace in serving the Lord.

  6. Number 9 says:

    Long live Pope Benedict!

  7. Mary Margaret Gascue says:

    Jesus is ready for the harvest!;
    Pope Benedict, Thank you for your humbleness
    in the steps the lord is guiding you to assert.
    You are amazing! Example.
    I love you!!

  8. Monica Sawyn says:

    I think he has been a wonderful Pope, and I’m sorry he has to step down. Now it is the duty of all Catholics to pray earnestly that his successor will be a man chosen by God.

  9. Jim says:

    Pope Benedict does this knowing these are not ordinary times, that there is an urgency to the mission which must be accomplished in the Church. The United States is fast on the road in becoming another Europe which has largely become a wasteland of secularism with an ever advancing culture of death. Even “Catholic” Belgium has succumbed. Two deaf men from the tiny village of Putte, only a few miles from my birthplace were euthanized just the other day. The sole reason: they were also going blind.

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