The pope who is 85 years old gave his reason for resigning as health issues that he said led to him no longer has the strength to carry out his duties.
Speaking in Latin, Pope Benedict XVI announced his decision to resign at the “Concistory for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto.” This is a small event for the pope that is held early in the morning.
Insiders have said the Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign shocked the Vatican hierarchy. He will be the first pope to have resigned since the Middle Ages.
His statement was later posted on the Vatican Radio website. The pontiff’s statement said, “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 went on to say that the duties of the pope required “both strength of mind and body.” The statement went on to say that the pope’s was a “decision of great importance” for the church.
The following men are listed at potential men to be his successor. They are, Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the archbishop of Vienna, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican’s office for bishops.
The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols stated that the announcement “shocked and surprised everyone. Yet, on reflection, I am sure that many will recognize it to be a decision of great courage and characteristic clarity of mind and action.”
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1927. In April 2005, he became the 265th pope. At the time, Cardinal Ratzinger described himself as “a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.”
With the pope’s resignation, the Vatican will hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March. The traditional mourning time the church would normally follow after the death of the pope will not have to be observed.
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