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Pope Ratzinger Resigns: "I didn't see that one coming" - God

acheron

TRIBE Member
Ratzinger out, possible Canadian successor.

Pope Benedict's resignation 'took us by surprise,' Vatican says - The Globe and Mail

Pope Benedict XVI has stunned the world with his decision to resign on Feb. 28. He is the first pontiff to resign while in office in nearly 600 years.

The Pope, 85, is in declining health and recently has been using a cane. He announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning.

The news comes as shock to the Vatican and to Roman Catholics. There was no speculation that his post would cease before his death. Speaking in Latin, the Pope said he is resigning in "full freedom."

His resignation will trigger a scramble to find a successor. One potential candidate is thought to be Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who was appointed Cardinal in 2003. Cardinal Ouellet, 68, is prefect of the Congregation of Bishops and also president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

There was no obvious contender when Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.

Cardinals do not openly campaign to be the next pope — doing so is considered extremely bad form and would put them out of the running. But the multi-lingual Canadian Cardinal, whose has had wide experience in Latin America, is said to be respected by Benedict and has the advantage of being a geo-politically neutral candidate, in the sense that he is not European or American.

The Pope said his strength is no longer adequate to continue in office due to his advanced age. The Pope added that he is “fully aware of the gravity of this gesture.”

The Vatican said the Pope’s resignation means the papacy will be vacant until a successor is chosen. The Pope is to spend his last two weeks on the job at his summer residence just outside of Rome, at Castel Gandalfo.

In a statement that can be heard on Vatican Radio, the Pope said:

"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 bark 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 fulfil 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.

After the long reign of a Polish pope, John Paul II, and a German pope, the Italian Catholic Church will no doubt put a lot of pressure on cardinals who to support for an Italian for the papacy. But new Roman Catholics are increasingly not Europeans; the growth is in Africa and Latin America.

Forty-two per cent of the world’s 1.2 billion-strong Catholic population, the largest single block in the Church, live in Latin America compared to 25 per cent in its European heartland.

The new pope will be chosen through a conclave, a special gathering of cardinals who are sequestered in Sistine Chapel at the Vatican until they can agree on a successor.

When Benedict was elected pope at age 78 — already the oldest pope elected in nearly 300 years — he had been already planning to retire as the Vatican's chief orthodoxy watchdog to spend his final years writing in the “peace and quiet” of his native Bavaria.

Benedict himself raised the possibility of resigning if he were simply too old or sick to continue on in 2010, when he was interviewed for the book “Light of the World.”

“If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign,” the Pope said.

The Vatican is insisting that the Pope's resignation has nothing to do with the church's sexual-abuse scandals or with anything to do with his former butler, Paolo Gabriele, convicted by a Vatican tribunal for leaking secret papal documents.

What will Pope Benedict be remembered for? Longevity is one. When he was appointed pope eight years ago, he was considered a "transitional" figure, that is, he was not expected to last for more than two or three years.

Longevity has been something of a curse for Benedict, because it came with the brunt of the pedophilia scandals, the butler-theft affair and epic problems at at the Vatican Bank, which did not meet anti-money laundering standards.

On the abuse scandals, the Pope had a mixed record. He certainly did more than any other pope to crack down on offenders within the Church — most of of the abuse took place before he was pope — but he has been criticized for not doing enough. For instance, when he was archbishop of Munich, a known molester in the church was re-assigned, not fired.

Before he became pope, Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger of Germany, had the responsibility to deal with abuse cases as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He worked hard to clean up the church, but, again, he was criticised for not being tougher.

As long time pope watcher John Hooper of the Guardian wrote, "a letter he issued in 2001 to diocese around the world did not make sufficiently clear the responsibility of bishops to inform civil authorities" about sexual abuse cases.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
^^ I'll have what junglisthead is having please!

Let's hope they can pick a pope with some 3rd world mojo - im ready for a new perspective from the Vatican and the catholic church could be a much more force for anti-war and social justice aims if we had a non ultra-conservative pope up there!
 
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acheron

TRIBE Member
What's his role going to be now, anyway? Or does he just move to a cottage in Germany and party it up until he croaks?
there hasn't been an ex-pope living since 600 years ago or whenever and certainly the context is very different... I wouldn't doubt they will try to squeeze another book out of him at the very least.
 
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ndrwrld

TRIBE Member
he wants us to pray for him.
my fingers are crossed he falls down a long pointy flight of stairs.
 
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