National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Benedict Resigns

Surprise, surprise!


A few months ago, Vatican reporter John Allen gave a presentation to fellow NCR staff and contributors about his current predictions for the next pope. I should have taken better notes.

I found out about the pope's resignation announcement this morning the way I find out about most major, breaking news -- from my sister, who gets up way earlier than I do. She texted me a simple sentence, which was quickly confirmed by a scan of my Facebook feed.

What we should look for in the next pope


I was a bit sleepy this morning when NPR announced the news: Pope Benedict XVI is resigning effective Feb. 28. That news jolted me to full consciousness. Wow! Resigning? When was the last time that happened? (Answer: 1415 with Gregory XII.)

The Vatican announced that the pope's health (and by implication, his aging -- he is 86) are the reasons for this resignation. And that's a service to the church. When the church (or any similar body) is solely dependent on an absolute monarch for conducting business, ill health keeps even essential functions from being done.

Pope Benedict shows signs of aging, but Vatican reports no illness


From the moment he was elected pope at the age of 78 in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI has kept a schedule that appeared light compared to that of Blessed John Paul II, but busy for a man who had wanted to retire to study, write and pray when he turned 75.

Announcing Monday that he would resign at the end of the month, Pope Benedict said, "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."

Lead cardinal: 'Loss,' 'disbelief' over pope's resignation


The lead cardinal of the Roman Catholic church, a man who will play a key role in the selection of a new pope, has said the cardinals have received news of Benedict's resignation "with a sense of loss and almost disbelief."

"You have said that you will always be near us with your witness and your prayer," Cardinal Angelo Sodano said in a statement released by the Vatican. "The stars always continue to shine and so will the star of your pontificate always shine among us."


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