Pope announces resignation due to age
The Pope explained his unexpected decision in a statement.
"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," he said.
"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 recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me."
The Pope steps down on 28 February, becoming the first to do so since Pope Gregory XII stepped down in 1415.
The news has been met by widespread surprise. Writing in The Telegraph, Damian Thompson said Catholics would be "deeply shocked and, in most cases, dismayed by this decision".
Despite this, he said he saw it as evidence of Pope Benedict's "deep humility". the rest image
A message from the Archbishop of Canterbury on Pope Benedict's resignation
Monday 11th February 2013
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has released the following message on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
It was with a heavy heart but complete understanding that we learned this morning of Pope Benedict’s declaration of his decision to lay down the burden of ministry as Bishop of Rome, an office which he has held with great dignity, insight and courage. As I prepare to take up office I speak not only for myself, and my predecessors as Archbishop, but for Anglicans around the world, in giving thanks to God for a priestly life utterly dedicated, in word and deed, in prayer and in costly service, to following Christ. He has laid before us something of the meaning of the Petrine ministry of building up the people of God to full maturity.
In his visit to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict showed us all something of what the vocation of the See of Rome can mean in practice – a witness to the universal scope of the gospel and a messenger of hope at a time when Christian faith is being called into question. In his teaching and writing he has brought a remarkable and creative theological mind to bear on the issues of the day. We who belong to other Christian families gladly acknowledge the importance of this witness and join with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in thanking God for the inspiration and challenge of Pope Benedict’s ministry.
We pray that God will bless him profoundly in retirement with health and peace of mind and heart, and we entrust to the Holy Spirit those who have a responsibility to elect his successor.
+ Justin Cantuar
The Catholic Church in England and Wales will have no say in the papal conclave. Just as well, perhaps
Pope Benedict XVI resigns. This is unbelievable news, but evidence of the his deep humility -Damian Thompson
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With Pope Benedict XVI’s shocking resignation this morning, Evangelical Christians might be tempted to see this the way a college football fan might view the departure of his rival team’s head coach. But the global stakes are much, much higher. As Pope Benedict steps down, I think it’s important for us to recognize the legacy of the last two bishops of Rome that we ought to honor and conserve: an emphasis on human dignity...