News / Europe

    Pope Benedict to Step Down

    Pope's Resignation Is First in 600 Yearsi
    X
    February 11, 2013 7:20 PM
    Pope Benedict XVI has resigned, effective at the end of the month. It is the first time this has happened in nearly 600 years. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
    Pope's Resignation Is First in 600 Years
    Al Pessin
    Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI has resigned, effective at the end of the month.  It is the first time a pope resigned in nearly 600 years. 
     
    Pope Benedict surprised a high-level church meeting at the Vatican with his announcement.  According to a text published later, he told the gathering he believes that "in today's world" a pope must be strong enough to speak and engage in activities, and that his own health "has deteriorated" in recent months.

    The pope, who is 85 years old, said he has "had to recognize" his "incapacity to adequately fulfill" his ministry.  He said his "strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited" to the demands of the job.  He said prayer and suffering are also part of a pope's duties, but those things alone are not sufficient.

    • Pope Benedict greets the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, April 19, 2005.
    • Pope Benedict blesses a baby as he rides around St. Peter's Square to hold his last general audience at the Vatican Feb. 27, 2013.
    • Pope Benedict appears on a giant screen in a packed St. Peter's Square at the Vatican during his last general audience, February 27, 2013.
    • Pope Benedict arrives to attend a meeting with seminarians at the Romano Maggiore seminary in Rome, February 8, 2013.
    • Pope Benedict waves as he arrives to lead the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 18, 2012.
    • Pope Benedict wears a sombrero, a traditional Mexican hat, while being driven through the crowd before officiating a mass in Silao, Mexico, March 25, 2012.
    • Pope Benedict holds his cross as he leads a solemn mass in Zagreb, Croatia, June 5, 2011.
    • Pope Benedict visits the Ardeatine Caves Memorial in Rome, Italy, March 27, 2011.
    • Pope Benedict leaves after an audience with Vatican-accredited diplomats at the Vatican, January 10, 2011.
    • Pope Benedict visits the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem's Old City, May 12, 2009.
    • Pope Benedict waves to the crowd gathered in Saint Peter's square during his weekly Angelus blessing at the Vatican, May 16, 2010.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama meet with Pope Benedict at the Vatican, July 10, 2009.

    Benedict's predecessor, Pope John-Paul II, died at age 85 in 2005, after several years during which his physical frailty limited his activities. 

    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
    The current pope apparently wanted to avoid that, and also to send a message to his successors about the demands of the modern papacy, which involves global travel and almost daily meetings with officials and pilgrims from around the world.

    Pope Benedict made his most recent public appearance Sunday, addressing a crowd in St. Peter’s Square on the occasion of the Lunar New Year. 

    He spoke of what he called “the universal values” of “peace, harmony and gratitude to Heaven,” which he said are “desired by everyone to build their family, society and ... nation.” 

    The pope wished those celebrating “a happy and prosperous life.”
    World Catholic population, 2012.World Catholic population, 2012.
    x
    World Catholic population, 2012.
    World Catholic population, 2012.
    Pope Benedict was born Joseph Ratzinger in 1927 in the town of Passau, Germany.  He became a cardinal and Archbishop of Munich in 1977. Known for his conservative theological views, he became an advisor to Pope John Paul II five years later, and was elected pope after John Paul's death in 2005.

    The Vatican says the pope's surprise resignation will trigger a series of events culminating next month in a conclave of the world's Roman Catholic cardinals. A spokesman said officials expect to have a new pope elected by Easter, which this year is on March 31.  

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: NVO from: USA
    February 11, 2013 1:31 PM
    What the catholics are in COMPLETE denial of, AND DO NOT want the world to know......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: Ikechukwu Uwalaka from: Zaria Nigeria
    February 11, 2013 9:41 AM
    So this office is not for LIFE.........then most of the errors introduced by some early popes (and their CANONICAL councils) can be undone.......especially removing the 2nd commandment (and dividing the 10th into two, to make up for the removal) as well as the 'Mary worship & devotion'.......come on we can do it.....! It may have to start with just an announcement.....I think the pope can do more than just resign!

    by: 9dhamar
    February 11, 2013 9:21 AM
    Gods bless him

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora