Monday, 11 February 2013

Pope Benedict XVI to resign: Ill heath cited as cause

Via Internet sources
The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict XVI will step down on February 28.  Pope Benedict was one of the oldest pontiffs to be elected head of the Catholic Church in 2005 aged 85. It’s been almost 600 years since a Pope resigned.  Pope Gregory XII stepped down in 1415 to end the “Western Schism”. When two claimants declared themselves Pope (one in Avignon and the other in Pisa), Gregory resigned and thus helped keep the Roman Catholic Church united.

Prior to this, Pope Celestine V changed the rules and made it possible for Bishops of Rome to resign. He then decided to make good use of his own solemn decree, and lived out his life as an aged hermit. Interestingly, another of the few Popes to resign was also called Benedict. Benedict IX resigned in 1045, selling the position to his godfather so he could marry.  Gregory VI, the man who purchased the papacy from Benedict IX, resigned the following year.

Pope Benedict said he "had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me." As a Catholic, I wish the Pope well in his life new endeavor. God bless!

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