News / Europe

Benedict Ends 8-Year Reign, Pledges Obedience to Next Pope

Swiss guards stand at the entrance of papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Feb. 28, 2013.
Swiss guards stand at the entrance of papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Feb. 28, 2013.
Pope Benedict has resigned after nearly eight years in office, becoming the first Roman Catholic Church leader to step down voluntarily in 600 years.

Benedict's resignation took effect Thursday at 8 p.m. local time (1900 UTC), several hours after he left the Vatican by helicopter for the papal retreat of Castel Gandolfo, outside Rome. At the stroke of the hour, two Swiss Guards guarding the entrance of the residence symbolically closed the gates and left their posts.

Pope Benedict waves to the faithful from the balcony of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Feb. 28, 2013.Pope Benedict waves to the faithful from the balcony of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Feb. 28, 2013.
x
Pope Benedict waves to the faithful from the balcony of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Feb. 28, 2013.
Pope Benedict waves to the faithful from the balcony of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Feb. 28, 2013.
Earlier, the 85-year-old pontiff pledged "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his eventual successor, as he addressed Roman Cardinals in a private farewell at the Vatican. He urged them to unite, saying "among you there is the future pope" whom they will have to choose in the coming weeks.

Vatican clergy and workers applauded as Benedict departed. Officials also sealed the papal apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square.

Benedict later made a brief appearance on the balcony of Castel Gandolfo, blessing thousands of well-wishers and describing himself as a pilgrim who is about to start his "last pilgrimage" on Earth.

In a final message on his official Twitter account, the leader of the world's one billion Catholics thanked his followers for their "love and support." He also wrote, "May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the center of your lives."

In the coming days, Roman Catholic cardinals will gather in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel for a conclave, a group meeting bound by centuries-old tradition that will elect a new pope.

  • A helicopter carrying Pope Benedict takes off from inside the Vatican on its way to the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, Feb. 28, 2013.
  • People wait in Rome to see the helicopter taking Pope Benedict to Castel Gandolfo, Feb. 28, 2013.
  • In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict holds his farewell meeting with cardinals at the Vatican, Feb. 28, 2013.
  • Inflatable letters compose the message "Thank You Benedict, we are all with you" in the town of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, Feb. 28, 2013.
  • Pope Benedict holds his last general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Feb. 27, 2013.
  • Pope Benedict waves to the faithful after arriving in St. Peter's Square to hold his last general audience at the Vatican, Feb. 27, 2013.
  • The crowd listens to Pope Benedict in St. Peter's Square during his last general audience at the Vatican, Feb. 27, 2013.
  • A nun waits in a packed St. Peter's Square for Pope Benedict's last general audience, Feb. 27, 2013.
  • Nuns from Brazil wait for the arrival of Pope Benedict in St. Peter's Square, Feb. 27, 2013.
  • A sign reading "Thank you" in Italian is held in St. Peter's Square as Pope Benedict holds his last general audience at the Vatican, Feb. 27, 2013.

Cardinals who are 80 or older will not vote.

Benedict gave his final address to the faithful at St. Peter's Square on Wednesday. He said the church experienced troubles and "stormy waters" during his tenure, but added that God will not let the institution sink.

The pontiff also said he is aware of the novelty and the gravity of his decision to step down, announced on February 11. The only other pope to do so of his own free will was Celestine V, a hermit who resigned in 1294 after several months in office, as a protest against Vatican infighting.

The church will refer to Benedict as "pope emeritus" in retirement. He is expected to return to a convent in the Vatican after several months at Castel Gandolfo. Benedict has said he plans to live quietly in prayer and meditation - in his words - "hidden to the world."

Some critics foresee possible tension between Benedict and the new pope who succeeds him. But, a Vatican spokesman, the Reverend Federico Lombardi, said Thursday that Benedict has "no intention of interfering in the positions, decisions or activities of his successor."

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: No Denial here. from: USA
February 28, 2013 2:54 PM
The Bible says of Jesus that there is no other name by which men can be saved (Acts 4:12). There is only one mediator between God and men, and that is Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). We can now see that there is no biblical foundation for claiming to be a representative of Christ on earth. No man could do what Christ has done, or what Christ is now doing on behalf of humankind. But the title of vicar also carries with it another implication: the bearer has the same jurisdictional power of the official he represents. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus Christ is the one who says He will build His church; He never delegates this power. By claiming the title of Vicar of Christ, the reigning pope is, in fact, promising to do what Christ promised.

Jesus does indeed predict a “vicar” in the sense of a “replacement” for His physical presence here on earth. However, this “vicar of Christ” is not a priest, high priest, bishop, or pope. The only biblical “Vicar of Christ” is the Holy Spirit. John 14:26 declares, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:16-18 proclaims, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” The Holy Spirit is Christ’s “replacement” on the earth. The Holy Spirit is our Counselor, Teacher (John 14:26), and guide into all truth (John 16:13).

In claiming that the pope is the “Vicar of Christ,” the Catholic Church rejects the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ’s priesthood, and grants to the pope roles that Christ Himself declared would belong to the Holy Spirit. It is therefore blasphemy to ascribe to the pope the title of “Vicar of Christ.”

In Response

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
March 01, 2013 5:02 PM
Well that is the beauty of religeous freedom, in a democracy, you can interpret the religeous books any way you want to, and beyond that, you can even believe in rocks; and unless you belong to the particular religion, its not really your business to criticize how they worship or what dogma they belive in. No more than it is a Catholic's business to tell a Protestant or Muslim of any other religion how to carry out their worshipping.
Mr. Ratzinger has shown great courage in packing it in; no person should be a slave to a callling, once he/she feels no longer capable of doing his/her work, he/she should be able to retire. For this reason, I praise Mr. Ratzinger. We see too many leaders clinging to power, well beyond their best days.


by: richard Hansen from: New York
February 28, 2013 2:00 PM
I see the pope is to live in a convent. Perhaps he is looking for what he missed as a pope.

In Response

by: celestino from: Roma
February 28, 2013 4:53 PM
A convent does not mean where sisters stay.


by: Anonymous
February 28, 2013 6:40 AM
Gods bless you

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid