News / Europe

    Pope Benedict Leads Last Ash Wednesday Mass

    Pope Benedict XVI opens his arms in greetings as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican, February 13, 2013.
    Pope Benedict XVI opens his arms in greetings as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican, February 13, 2013.
    Al Pessin
    Thousands of people crowded into St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican as Pope Benedict XVI led his last scheduled mass, and hundreds more gathered around large television screens in the square outside.
     
    A choir sang as the 85-year-old pontiff entered the church, walking on his own, his first public appearance since announcing his resignation earlier this week. Looking somewhat frail in his ceremonial purple robe, he boarded a moving platform to travel down the long center aisle as some Roman Catholic cardinals, one of whom may replace him as pope next month, formed a procession behind him.
     
    His voice raspy but clear, Pope Benedict offered his thanks to everyone who had helped him during his papacy.

    Pope Benedict Bio

    • Became one of the oldest new popes when elected in 2005 at age of 78
    • Headed Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before becoming pope
    • Named Cardinal of Munich in 1977
    • Taught at several universities from 1959 to 1966
    • Joined the Hitler Youth in 1941 when it became compulsory for all German boys
    • Born Joseph Ratzinger in 1927 in Bavaria's Marktl am Inn, son of a police officer
    He received long rounds of applause at the beginning and end of the service. His chief assistant spoke briefly, saying there was “a veil of sadness” over the service, and thanking the pope for being what he called a “simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.”
     
    That was what Pope Benedict had promised to do on the day he was elected pope eight years ago.

    The pope led the Ash Wednesday mass two days after he announced his resignation, saying age and physical frailty were preventing him from fulfilling his obligations as he would like to. The Vatican had publicly acknowledged for the first time that the pope, a German formerly known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, has a pacemaker.
     
    It is the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years, and many people did not even know it was possible.
     
    Report by Al Pessin from Vatican City
    Report by Al Pessin from Vatican Cityi
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    The pope will hold a final public audience on the balcony at St. Peter's Square on February 27, and will retire the next day.
     
    About two weeks later, Roman Catholic cardinals will convene to choose his successor. Officials say the new pope is expected to be named by Easter, March 31, and that Pope Benedict will play no role in the selection.
     
    A man's story
     
    The chief of Vatican Radio's English Section, Sean-Patrick Lovett, says the pope's resignation “redefines the papacy,” focusing on the human rather than the divine-connection element.
     
    “This is not a pope story, this is a man's story, Lovett said.” This is an old man, who is nearly 86, with a sense of responsibility looking at who he is relation to the office that he holds and saying, 'I have to be honest, I cannot do this anymore.'”
     
    Lovett says the move sets a standard for future popes, but does not necessarily signal any major policy changes will come under the new pope.
     
    “The Catholic Church is not about change, it is not a democracy," he said. "It is about continuity, and doctrine is very unlikely to change no matter who becomes pope.”
     
    There is lots of speculation on who that might be, particularly whether it might be someone from Africa or Latin America, which, combined, are home to more than half the world's Catholics. But Lovett says the same speculation was heard during the past 35 years for each of the three papal transitions he has covered.
     
    Pope Benedict's rule has been concerned with the church's child sex abuse scandal that began long before he ascended to the papacy. Last year, his butler was found to be the source of leaked documents alleging corruption in the Vatican's business dealings. Pope Benedict also has been criticized for inflexibility on church dogmas.
     
    In contrast, Pope Benedict has received praise for instituting a financial watchdog for the Vatican's financial dealings and becoming the first pope to communicate with followers via social media.

    Papal contenders

    Loading...

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: NVO from: USA
    February 13, 2013 7:08 PM
    Should a Christian observe Ash Wednesday? Since the Bible nowhere explicitly commands or condemns such a practice, Christians are at liberty to prayerfully decide whether or not to observe Ash Wednesday.

    If a Christian decides to observe Ash Wednesday and/or Lent, it is important to have a biblical perspective. Jesus warned us against making a show of our fasting: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen” (Matthew 6:16-18). We must not allow spiritual discipline to become spiritual pride.

    It is a good thing to repent of sinful activities, but that’s something Christians should do every day, not just during Lent. It’s a good thing to clearly identify oneself as a Christian, but, again, this should be an everyday identification. And it is good to remember that no ritual can make one’s heart right with God.

    by: NVO from: USA
    February 13, 2013 12:21 PM
    What catholics are DUPED about and what the catholic church does not want anyone to know is the prophesy of Malachi Martin, and what Bishop Sheen had to say about the NEXT pope after Ratzinger, YES, the NEXT POPE!!! Father Connor, you probably know him, said that the catholic church under the heading of
    "sacred tradition" teaches that the final pope will defect from the faith! Now here is what Bishop Sheen said. "The false prophet will have a religion without a cross, a religion without a world to come, a religion to destroy religions. There will be a counter church, Christs church will be one, and the false prophet will create the other. The false church will be worldly, ecumenical, and global. It will be a loose federation of churches and religions forming some type of global association. A world parliament of churches, it will be emptied of all divine content and will be the mystical body of the anti-Christ. The mystical body on earth today will have its Judas Iscariot, and he will be the false prophet. Satan will recruit him from among OUR Bishops! The false prophet will be a bishop, and like Judas, he will sell the mystical body to the anti-Christ".-

    Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1950)

    by: andy from: al
    February 13, 2013 11:08 AM
    The pope needs to trust in Jesus alone for his salvation. Not his religion or he will burn in hell.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora