Pope Benedict XVI is retiring at the end of this month, February 2013, at the age of 85, citing claims that he's too weary and has health and age-related issues. When he became pope at age 78, Benedict XVI was already the oldest pontiff elected in nearly 300 years. If you'd like to read the Pope's exact words in his statement of retirement beginning at the end of this month, please check out the current site, Complete translated text of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation statement.
In Sacramento, check out the February 11, 2013 Sacramento Bee article, "Pope's bombshell sends troubled church scrambling." For local reaction in Sacramento to the breaking news of the Pope's resignation announcement, see, Video Report, Sacramento reacts to resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. This Easter will bring a new Pope. And beginning on March 1, 2013, two Popes will be alive and the same time, a rare event.
The news is now viral on Twitter and Facebook as social media spreads the word and many people comment on what health problems could be coming up in the future for anyone over age 85 varying from arthritis and prostate issues to major stroke, even though doctors say the Pope's health is presently good for a senior, and his mind is sharp and strong. See, Social media reaction to Pope Benedict XVI's resignation.
He's now 85, and in recent years he has slowed down significantly, cutting back his foreign travel and limiting his audiences, reports a February 11, 2013 Associated Press news article by Maria Cheng, "Vatican: Pope too weary at his age for the job." Also see the article, Vatican: Pope too weary at his age for the job.
Nuns in Berlin attend a special evening mass for the Pope
It's evening now in Europe, and nuns are attending a special evening mass at St. Hedwig Catholic cathedral following the announced resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Pope Benedict XVI, born Josef Ratzinger in Germany, announced to Vatican clergy on Monday that he feels too physically frail to continue meeting the demands of being the Pope and will step down officially on February 28, 2013.
When the Pope announced his upcoming retirement at the end of February, he spoke to his audience in Latin, but how many people in Rome, Vatican City or the rest of Italy still understand spoken Latin--outside the church mass? Since he announced it to his audience in Vatican City, more people living in Vatican city would have exposure to the Latin language and would understand the news Pope Benedict delivered at the Vatican, speaking in Latin.
The latest news report notes, "Benedict delivered the news at the Vatican, speaking in Latin," according to the news story, "Pope announces resignation, will step down at end of February." The news even spread to the 12 synagogues for the 13,000 Jews currently living in Rome, but the most comments about the surprise retirement announcement focused on social media around the globe.
You can read the news from a Catholic angle at Catholic News from EWTN Catholic Television Network. Check out the news story, "Papal resignation is rare historical event." According to the Catholic reports on the news of the Pope's resignation, people are asking what are his plans after retirement, which may not be reported in the secular news sources.
It turns out that after Pope Benedict XVI retires at the end of February he will dedicate himself to a life of prayer and study in a Vatican-based monastery. The Pope will step down on Feb. 28, will first stay in Castel Gandolfo before eventually going back to the Vatican to live in Mater Ecclesiae monastery. The monastery usually is where a group of nuns live. These nuns pray for the ministry of the Pope, a mission Pope John Paul II gave to them. But since that monastery is being renovated, it will be where the Pope will reside after February 28, 2013.
At the age of 85, he has decided to dedicate himself to prayer and reflection, according to today's media event at the Holy See press office.
What the Pope will not be is cloistered or confined. He will have his freedom, according to the Vatican Press Event. Since this historic event will be recorded as rare, it remains to be seen how he likes living at the monastery. On one hand you have people getting nervous about having two Popes alive at the same time, but those at the Vatican dismiss any concerns based on the knowledge of Pope Benedict XVI "as being discrete," according to the Vatican Press Event.
"There would not be any interference with his successor," according to the Catholic website's news report, "Papal resignation is rare historical event." When a Pope resigns, it's a rare historical event. It has been almost 600 years since the last time a Pope resigned. The present Pope is the first Pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII relinquished his office in 1415. But Pope Benedict will still hold his title of cardinal that he had before he was elected Pope. See the site, Precedents for papal resignations.
The Pope's personality today is in the news. The Press Event at the Vatican commented on what would be "completely against his personality." For further information on the Pope's decision, check out the news article, "Papal resignation is rare historical event." What readers need to know is that the decision wasn't sudden, and the Pope wasn't overwhelmed by his pontificate.
Canon law states a meeting to choose the next Pope, a “conclave,” must be held within a maximum of 20 days after his seat is vacant
This could mean the Church will have no head during most of Lent, but the Vatican hopes to have one by Easter, according to the news article. When Pope Benedict made it public that he will step down from his role as head of the Catholic Church, it raised a number of questions about how the process of resignation works.
For further details on what the Pope plans to do after retirement, see the news article, "Benedict XVI plans life of prayer after retirement." A life of prayer certainly is one way to relieve the stress of daily living and travel obligations or other types of work in the golden years, not only for the Pope. Like meditation, prayer can be peaceful and relaxing certain times of day or evening when it comes to holistic and serene activities that help improve health and outlook.
The announcement of resignation, which is in the news referred to as resignation rather than retirement, actually stunned cardinals today, February 11, 2013. To add to that resignation announcement, the Pope said to the cardinals that he's no longer able to fulfill his duties as head of the Catholic church due to age and failing health, and is stepping down at the end of the month, the secular news sources reported.
Pope Benedict XVI, right, delivered his message assisted by his aide Mons. Franco Camaldo, top, during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, at the Vatican, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would resign February 28, 2013, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March, according to the news source, L'Osservatore Romano.
"In order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary -- strengths which in the last few months, have deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me." Also see a breaking news article, "Pope announces resignation, will step down at end of February."
The Pope's actual words
The Pope's actual words were, "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," the 85-year-old pope told the cardinals today. For further information, also see, "A look back at the Pope's reign and "Twitter reacts to Pope's surprise resignation." For more information on the Vatican, check out the site, Vatican: the Holy See.
People are wondering whether at 85, the Pope's mobility had slowed down to the point that he's too weak to continue working as Pope. The Pope travels to the altar in St. Peter's Basilica on a moving platform to spare him the 100-yard (-meter) walk down the aisle. Occasionally he uses a cane. Late last year, people who were spending time with the Pontiff emerged saying they found him weak and too tired to engage with what they were saying, according to news reports. However, he's not in bad health. The latest news report notes, "A doctor familiar with the Pope's medical team told The Associated Press on Monday, February 11, 2013 that the pontiff has no grave or life-threatening illnesses.
According to the AP news source, "The Vatican emphasized today to news sources that no specific medical condition prompted Benedict's decision to become the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. Still, Benedict said his advanced age means he no longer has the necessary physical strength to lead the world's more than one billion Roman Catholics." Doctors asked the Pope not to take any huge overseas trans-Atlantic trips at his age.
Usually people more than 85 years of age have weaker immune systems than young people traveling overseas on these long airplane flights that take 14 hours or more. However, the Pontiff's only foreign trip this year was scheduled to be a July visit to Brazil for the church's World Youth Day. Reducing stress levels can help lower the risk of possible health issues in the future.