Resignation of the Pope: Your Reaction to Benedict XVI's Announcement?

Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI, 85, will step down Feb. 28 as bishop of Rome, the first such resignation in perhaps six centuries or more.


As reported by The Associated Press, Pope Benedict XVI on Monday announced his resignation, due to advanced age, before cardinals at a ceremony to name three new saints. 

When he steps down on Feb. 28, the pontiff's name will revert to Joseph Ratzinger. 

Is this rare? We haven't seen this in perhaps nearly six centuries, or even more. According to a posting on Poynter.org:

Many news organizations have reported that Pope Gregory XII was the last leader of the Roman Catholic Church to resign, in 1415. However, in this clip NBC Vatican analyst George Weigel says it’s been “717 years” since the last pope abdicated, by which he probably means Celestine V, who resigned 719 years ago, in 1294.

Gregory was not the pope for whom was named the Gregorian calendar (that was Gregory XIII) or Gregorian chant (Gregory the Great or Gregory II, opinions differ). XII resigned so the church could unite under a single pope after a schism. He died in 1417. Here’s some background on papal resignations.

Here is the pope's announcement, translated into English:

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.

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LoyolaAlum February 22, 2013 at 08:28 PM
The rumors of cross-dressing Vatican priests having played a role in Pope Benedict’s resignation is a reminder of the Los Gatos Jesuit priest who was a cross-dresser. The police caught the Jesuit cross-dresser, Fr. Angel Crisostomo Mariano, in a sex act with a 17 year-old boy in a parish car. Fr. Mariano used the internet to meet two boys, saying he was a 25 year-old woman. He was wearing lipstick and rouge when he met the boys. Mariano was arrested, convicted and jailed. Fr. Marinao was also suspected of abusing two disabled Jesuit employees at Los Gatos in a case that settled for $7 million. Fr. Mariano was a roommate of Fr. Thomas Smolich, now the top USA Jesuit. As expected Fr. Smolich said he was clueless about Fr. Mariano in spite of being Mariano’s roommate for two-years. Fr. Mariano may still be a priest and may have returned to the Philippines where his crime is not known. Are there any Vatican plans to defrock Fr. Mariano?


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