Pope resigns, shocks world
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Ladies and gentlemen, the Pope has left the building. Well, not quiet yet.
On Feb. 11, Pope Benedict XVI, in true Catholic style, announced, in Latin, his resignation from his role of the Bishop of Rome.
Being raised Catholic, I almost chocked on my donut when I saw the news. I had no idea that a Pope could resign. I thought the only way out of that job was to pass away.
According to USA Today, “Church law allows for a pope to resign – if he is of sound mind and not forced out by fear or fraud.”
This may explain why Benedict put emphasis on the fact that he is leaving “with full freedom.”
The news shook not only Catholicism but the rest of the world as well. This is an historic occasion. The last time a pope resigned was over 600 years ago. Even then, he only resigned to keep the church from splitting apart.
In his address to the masses, Pope Benedict sited a lack of physical as well as mental health for his decision to leave the Vatican.
“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,” Benedict said.
Some say it is not surprising that Benedict decided to resign considering that he never had dreams of being pope in the first place. All accounts say that he was content in his post before being chosen to lead the Vatican City.
However, he entered the papal office with high hopes of maintaining tradition while “closing the gap between spiritual and intellectual teachings in the church,” Mathew Schmalz, a theologian and professor at Holy Cross, said in an interview with USA Today.
Benedict was 78 when he was elected pope, making him the oldest man ever chosen to run the Vatican, and has served for only eight years. In those few years, he has faced several trials that would shake many a man’s faith.
He has created a firm stance for the church on issues such as stem cell research, gay marriage and contraception. Benedict has also had to deal with the massive fallout from the sex abuse scandal that has plagued Catholicism for years but has only recently burst into the spotlight.
While Benedict may have been old when he was elected, he has brought a new multimedia dimension to the church. While most elderly people can’t work a computer, Pope Benedict has been tweeting and facebooking in an effort to reach a generation glued to technology.
His last day will be Feb. 28. Because the pope has not passed away, the College of Cardinals will not have to wait the normal mourning period before beginning deliberations for electing a new Supreme Pontiff.
This is rather lucky for the Catholic Church considering the important time of year it is. Lent has recently begun and Easter is just around the corner. Several sources say the conclave has high hopes of naming a new pope before Easter celebrations begin.