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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid