Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Announces His Retirement

Pope Benedict XVI

 Photo courtesy: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Pope Benedict XVI (85), in a surprise move, announced his retirement to a group of cardinals gathered in the Vatican today (February 11) for a consistory to approve the canonization of new saints, reports the Catholic News Service.

In his statement, the pope 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 further announced to the cardinals: "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, 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 St. Peter, will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new supreme pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is."

After the resignation of the pope takes effect at 8:00 p.m. (Vatican time) on February 28, Pope Benedict XVI will be known or called by “Cardinal Josef Ratzinger” – his real name before becoming the pope in 2005 –  and he will be addressed by “Your Eminence” and not “Your Holiness.”

Pope Benedict is the ninth Germany-born pope and he was the 265th position in the long line of popes from the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the religious leader of more than one billion Roman Catholics all over the world.
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