Pope Benedict XVI, who became the 265th pope in 2005, has announced he will be stepping down as head of the Catholic Church on February 28. The Pope’s sudden announcement on his plan for retirement states, “He was getting too old for the job of God’s ear.”
The Pope also stated in part, on Vatican Radio, “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 of dedication to prayer.”
According to the Guardian.co.uk, Monday February 11, “A voluntary papal resignation is rare – certainly in recent centuries. Pope Celestine V exercised his right to abdicate in 1294. Pope Gregory XII resigned in 1415 to end the western schism.”
The world’s attention will now turn to the College of Cardinals, who have the “elite task” of deciding who will become the next Pope.” Among possible successors are Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Cardinal Angelo Scola, and Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn.
The German-born Pope, who is now 85 years old, will “officially step down on February 28, and his replacement will be chosen by a conclave, at the end of March.”