"The Pope resigns" blared headlines across the globe on Monday morning. Pope Benedict XVI is the first Pope since the Middle Ages to resign, making his announcement quite surprising. On. Feb. 11, The New York Times reported that Pope Benedict feels as though he is too old to continue his duties at the Vatican. The 85-year-old was elected to become the Pope in 2005 after the death of John Paul II -- less than eight years ago.
"I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise," he said in a statement. His announcement was very surprising to the world but it follows some speculation about his declining health.
Pope Benedict XVI's resignation was surprising to everyone. Cardinals and even Italy’s prime minister, Mario Monti, were shocked by the Pope's announcement today. Many people are now wondering if the Pope is ailing and many are also wondering about who the new pope might be. Vatican spokesperson, Rev. Federico Lombardi, said that a new Pope will likely be elected by Easter.
"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 St. 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," the Pope continued.
"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 St. Peter," he said in closing.
Pope Benedict XVI will resign on Feb. 28, 2013.
© Effie Orfanides 2013