Pope Benedict XVI to resign


Pope Benedict to Resign

By Alessandra Galloni, Liam Moloney and Stacy Meichtry | Updated February 11, 2013, 10:49 a.m. ET

VATICAN CITY— Pope Benedict XVI said Monday he planned to step down at the end of this month because of his deteriorating physical strength, a move that hasn’t happened in the Roman Catholic Church in centuries and that is likely to pave the way for a new pontiff by Easter.

In a speech in Latin to cardinals, the 85-year-old German pontiff, who has been in office since April 2005, said that leading the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics was a job that required strength of both mind and body. But the pope said his strength had “deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

A papal spokesman added during a briefing with reporters that Pope Benedict had been thinking about the move for some time, saying it wasn’t due to an illness. Father Lombardi, the spokesman, said the pope would retire to a life of prayer and writing. He also said the pontiff had “no fear” of any potential schism in the church as a consequence of the pope’s resignation.

The resignation, which the Vatican said would take place as of 8 p.m. on Feb. 28, will give way to a conclave, a gathering of cardinals who will elect the new pope. Normally, after a pope dies, there is a nine-day mourning period before the selection his successor. This time, the process can begin right away, said Greg Burke, the Vatican’s media adviser. “This means we’ll have a new pope by Easter,” he added. The holiday falls on March 31 this year.

Your Editor sees this as a very responsible move on the part of His Holiness,’ a move his predecessor, Pope John Paul II should have contemplated, and taken, as his struggles with Parkinson’s Disease became so great. However, the JOURNAL article continues to note the tradition in the Vatican that the Pope does not resign for reasons of health, because that would open the door to pressuring the pontiff to resign for reasons other than health. Pope Paul VI had considered resignation during the 1970s, but decided against it for that reason.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has already taken the decision to abdicate, after 30 years on the throne, another wise decision when age and health are factors. Her Majesty does not have the duties the pontiff faces, and Queen Elizabeth II, who will turn 87 years old this April, might reasonably be considering such a decision. Arguing against that would be the length of her reign — currently only two years less than that of the longest reigning British monarch, the 63 years of Queen Victoria, whose record she might wish to exceed, or the doofus nature of Charles, the Prince of Wales and heir apparent. And abdication has a more negative connotation in the United Kingdom, considering that of King Edward VIII.

Your Editor personally approves of the papacy of Benedict XVI, and would not wish to see him resign were he physically able to continue with his duties, but it is the height of responsibility to realize when it is time to leave.


  1. Via Robert Stacey Stacy McCain, we learn about just how absolutely classy some our friends on the left can be!

    Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend decided that there must be another scandal about to break, but, of course, Miss Spaulding really is neither very informed nor cares to change that. Her sticking point, as always, is homosexual issues:

    Will the Vatican now move to select a pope with a different world view, or, continue down this dark and demonizing path? It has a choice, but the cardinals in place largely reflect Benedict’s viewpoint.

    What Miss Spaulding seems unable to recognize is that the Biblical prohibitions on homosexual activity are clear and explicit: a priest cannot simply ignore them — though obviously, some priests have sinned in this manner — and continue to hold that he believes the Bible is the inspired word of God, and if he does not believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, he shouldn’t be a priest in the first place.

  2. Can we expect the Catholic change with the next Pope? I don’t really think so. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, formerly the archbishop of Quebec City, has the best odds of replacing Pope Benedict XVI, but he is an extremely conservative man who will definitely not want the Catholic church to change. He is expected to be a carbon copy Pope Benedict XVI.

  3. Handicapping the conclave is frequently a poor bet; the elevation of Giovanni Battista Montini to become Pope Paul VI was a fairly easy guess — even before he received the red hat, the conclave which elected Guiseppe Roncalli to become Pope John XXIII considered Archbishop Montini — and Joseph Ratzinger was high on everyone’s list, but who would have guessed that Albino Luciani or Karol Wotyla would have become the two Popes John Paul? At least for the moment, there are no clear favorites.

    One of the problems that a lot of people have is that they are using political standards to judge a religious or theological position. Judging the Catholic Church by current American political standards gives you a church on the left when it comes to economic issues, but very much on the right when it comes to the social issues; if you only standard is politics, you’ll come away massively confused.

  4. I really think this selection will not be a European pick. USA won’t stand a chance. My pick is African, but don’t have a location since religious politics are rampant, or Asian.

  5. Modern medicine has enabled people like Her Majesty the Queen and the late Pope John Paul II to live to an age in which their physical abilities to continue in their life tenure positions have simply ebbed. The resignation of His Holiness may help to set a new standard.

  6. My own sense is Benedict was chosen as a “Caretaker” Pope. They wanted someone who wouldn’t rock the boat, not make major changes, so they picked a guy whose views were similar to his predescessors and they picked an Old Dude because he wouldn’t leave much of a legacy and it would give them wiggle room to make REAL changes with the next guy.

    Personally, I think they should pick an American. Which probably means the guy from New York (Dolan?). It’s about time our side of the Pond was represented in the Papacy, given that America is one of the largest Catholic countries on earth and that the Western Hemisphere represents hundreds of millions more. An American would bring a modern view to the Papacy while at the same time respecting and preserving its central traditions. Plus, it would drive the Feminazis and left wingers generally crazy to have an American Pope!

  7. I’d guess that we’d see a Latin American selected before an Anglo American; Catholicism is much, much stronger south of the border.

    What about the Canadian guy?

  8. Well, who knows? It has been said that he who enters the conclave a pope, leaves a cardinal, and handicapping the selection seems a bit silly to me; you just never know whom will be selected. Will this be a religious selection, or will it be politics, or will it be both? I’m guessing some of both, but that means trying to understand and know the politics of a lot of cardinals who are not Americans and not Europeans.

  9. Not long after Benedict announced his retirement yesterday, this happened:

    Then this today. HMMMMMMM:

    Malachy Prophecy: Next Pope Will Be Last
    Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013 12:31 PM

    By Jim Meyers

    Ancient Catholic prophecies by a revered Irish bishop end with the chilling prediction that the next Pope to be selected by the College of Cardinals to fill Benedict XVI’s place will be the last Pope.

    St. Malachy, an Archbishop of Armagh who died in 1148, left behind a list of 112 Popes that has amazed some with its remarkable accuracy.

    Malachy used a short phrase in Latin to describe each Pope, beginning with Celestine II and “From a castle on the Tiber.” That Pope’s birth name was Guido di Castello.

    More recently, he described Pope John Paul I with the phrase: “From the midst of the moon.” His reign, which began in 1978, began with the moon half full and lasted only one month — or one moon.

    Read it all here:


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