|The pope said he was losing the strength to carry out his duties|
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
In an unexpected announcement, the Vatican has confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI will resign on February 28. The move has special resonance in Poland, a staunchly Catholic country, since the 85-year-old Joseph Ratzinger became pope in April 2005 following the death of Pope John Paul II (formerly Bishop Karol Wojty³a of Kraków).
The reason behind the resignation is the Pope's advanced age. The official statement from the Pope reads: “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.”
The pope said that in the last few months his strength had deteriorated to the point where “I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
This would be the first time the pontiff has resigned in nearly 600 years. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII, in 1415, during the Roman Catholic Church's Western Schism.
At 78, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest new popes in history when elected.
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