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

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid