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Pope to resign Feb. 28, says he’s too infirm

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 11, 2013 at 6:23 a.m.

this-april-19-2005-file-photo-shows-pope-benedict-xvi-greeting-the-crowd-from-the-central-balcony-of-st-peters-basilica-moments-after-being-elected-at-the-vatican-on-monday-feb-11-2013-benedict-xvi-announced-he-would-resign-feb-28-the-first-pontiff-to-do-so-in-nearly-600-years

This April 19, 2005, file photo shows Pope Benedict XVI greeting the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica moments after being elected, at the Vatican. On Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, Benedict XVI announced he would resign Feb. 28, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years.

Text of the announcement

“Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, 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 barque of Saint 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. 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 Saint 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 Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

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 dedicated to prayer.”

Pope to resign this month

The Vatican announced Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning at the end of February. The 85-year-old pontiff said he can no longer keep up with his responsibilities. (By The Associated Press)
[View Full-Size]

— Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would resign Feb. 28 because he was simply too infirm to carry on — 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.

The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals Monday morning.

He emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope — the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide — requires “both strength of mind and body.”

“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 told the cardinals. “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.

“However, 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 barque of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary — strengths 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 last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants.

Benedict called his choice “a decision of great importance for the life of the church.”

The move sets the stage for the Vatican to hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope doesn’t have to be observed.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Comments on: Pope to resign Feb. 28, says he’s too infirm

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 total comments

Medievalark says... February 11, 2013 at 7:35 a.m.

This is really without precedent. The citations of earlier resignations from the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries reflect very different circumstances -- one a man who never wanted to be pope and the other one under great international pressure to resign. I think it is a good precedent because it casts the pope as an officer of the Catholic Church and not some mystical or transcendental figure.

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NOTAGAIN says... February 11, 2013 at 8:10 a.m.

This is sad. I wish Pope Benedict well. I trust the Church will appoint another great leader.

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drs01 says... February 11, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.

Now if we could only get that idiot in the white house to do the same.......

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ToTheLeft says... February 11, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.

drs01,
This is about the Pope. Take your whining somewhere else.

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PennCo says... February 11, 2013 at 11:53 a.m.

You have to admire someone who says this position is important enough to do it well and I am not able so it is time for someone else now.

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RBBrittain says... February 11, 2013 at 12:08 p.m.

Commenters elsewhere have suggested (and I'm sure the media will in the coming days) that Church sex scandals may have prompted the Pope's resignation. I'm no fan of Catholicism myself; but like Martin Luther (the one that WASN'T a "king" ;) ), my beefs with the Church have more to do with doctrine than pedophilia. It's absolutely pathetic to assume Pope Benedict actually condoned pedophile priests, as many commenters claim; it's just that the Church reacted differently to this particular sickness in its midst than what today's secular world thinks is proper. (That's where that little legal idea we call the "rule of law" must come into play.) Judge not, lest ye be judged -- and our prayers should go out to the next conclave.

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nwar says... February 11, 2013 at 2 p.m.

There is considerable and overwhelming evidence that Ratzinger covered up pedophile priest scandals all over the world.

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