Pope Benedict XVI resigns
February 12, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI resigns

The Roman Catholic Church in Kingstown said yesterday that the news of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was received with “shock and great sadness of heart”.{{more}}

The Pope announced he will resign on February 28, saying he no longer had the strength to fulfill the duties of his office, international media have reported.

The 85-year-old Pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals yesterday morning.

“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,” he told the cardinals.

“I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiriual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said: “The Pope announced that he will leave his ministry at 8 p.m. on February 28.”

He said that the Pope was not stepping down because of any specific illness. Depression or uncertainty were ruled out as causes for the resignation.

The announcement was “a bolt from the blue”, said Angelo Sodano, a senior Vatican cardinal. The news apparently came as a surprise, even to the Pope’s close aides.

Greg Burke, another Vatican spokesman, told The Daily Telegraph there would be a new Pope by Easter.

“We can expect a new Pope by Easter, which this year falls on March 31,” he said.

“Because the Pope has not died there is no need for the traditional nine days of mourning, but there will be a Conclave (a meeting of Cardinals to select the new Pope).”

The Pope’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, reportedly said the pontiff had been advised by his doctor not to take any more transatlantic trips and had been considering stepping down for months.

Talking from his home in Regensburg to the news agency dpa, Georg Ratzinger said his brother was having increasing difficulty walking and that his resignation was part of a “natural process.”

“His age is weighing on him,” the 89-year-old said of his 85-year-old brother. “At this age my brother wants more rest.”

In a statement released yesterday, Jason Gordon, Bishop of Bridgetown and Kingstown said:

“We, the Catholics of the Diocese of Kingstown thank God for the Holy Father and his ministry to the Church over the last eight years. We support Him in this transitional time. His words to us in his resignation are words of deep humility and recognition of his failing health. The courage of the Holy Father is to be admired – no Pope has resigned in nearly six hundred years. To make history is characteristic of Pope Benedict XVI. This decision was made after much prayer and deliberation.

“His resignation speaks to the vitality of the Petrine Office and its importance to the Church. Individual Popes will come and go but the Office of Peter will endure till the end of time.

“We ask all Catholics and people of goodwill to pray for the Holy Father in his last days of ministry as Pope. Let us pray for him and for the Church in this transitional time.”