Home / News / Pope Benedict XVI resigns; cites poor health–to step down February 28
Pope Benedict XVI resigns; cites poor health–to step down February 28

Pope Benedict XVI resigns; cites poor health–to step down February 28

In an unexpected move Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world Monday by announcing he will resign at the end of this month, and saying he does not have the strength to deal with his ministry.   He made the announcement in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals saying:

"After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," he told the cardinals.

"I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiriual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.

While his abdication has shocked many, but abuse sufferers in Ireland have welcomed the news.  The Telegraph UK reports:

"This pope had a great opportunity to finally address the decades of abuse in the church but at the end of the day he did nothing but promise everything and in the end he ultimately delivered nothing," John Kelly, of the Survivors of Child Abuse support group, told AFP. "We asked the pope for sanctions against the religious orders who committed the abuse and the religious leaders in Ireland who allowed this to happen but to our dismay nothing has happened," Kelly added.

Kelly had lived during his childhood in a Catholic run institution and recalled being flogged by the priests.   Coupled with reports of admission by the nation of Ireland that the infamous Catholic Magdalene Laundries  made famous in the movie "The Magdalene Sisters," where thousands of women who were deemed "flirtatious" or who were unwed mothers were sent without being told when they could leave:

These women in Ireland spent their lives working for nothing under extremely abusive conditions had been supported by the state (although the government of Ireland stopped short of apologizing to the many female victims who had lived and died in those laundries). The Pope was beset by continuous reports of sexual abuse by priests around the world.  Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi claimed that even his inner circle had been unaware that Pope Benedict intended to quit.

The last time a pope resigned was over 600 years ago. Pope Celestine V resigned in 1294 after being in power only five months. His resignation was known as the Great Refusal and was condemned by the poet Dante in the "Divine Comedy" during Dante's storied journey to hell:

And I, who looked again, beheld a banner,
Which, whirling round, ran on so rapidly,
That of all pause it seemed to me indignant;
And after it there came so long a train
Of people, that I ne'er would have believed
That ever Death so many had undone.
When some among them I had recognised,
I looked, and I beheld the shade of him
Who made through cowardice the great refusal.
Forthwith I comprehended, and was certain,
That this the sect was of the caitiff wretches
Hateful to God and to his enemies.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Ratzinger was formerly known as "Gods Rottweiler," and that there was no pressure for him to resign:

Before he was elected Pope, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was known by such critical epithets as "God's rottweiler" because of his stern stand on theological issues.

But after several years into his new job Benedict showed that he not only did not bite but barely even barked.

In recent months, the pope has looked increasingly frail in public, sometimes being helped to walk by those around him.

Lombardi ruled out depression or uncertainty as being behind the resignation, saying the move was not due to any specific illness, just advancing age.

The Pope had shown "great courage, determination" aware of the "great problems the church faces today", he said, adding the timing may have reflected the Pope's desire to avoid the exhausting rush of Easter engagements.

There was no outside pressure and Benedict took his "personal decision" in the last few months, he added.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the Pope would be "missed by millions."

About Dakota O'Leary

Dakota O'Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. She is a contributing writer focusing on eschatology, biblical prophecy, and general religious news. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week. We like to call her "our in-house Biblical prophecy expert" as her articles on eschatology have received over 200,000 views on God Discussion.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=773061121 Kacy Ray

    "Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me," the pope said, according to the Vatican.

    If only there was someone that could've helped him maintain the strength he requires in order to perform these critical duties. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1051783731 Ken Nardone
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1164655609 Alan Thompson

    So next, is predicted last…….

  • Peter

    St Malachy’s “Prophecy of the Popes,” was published around 1595. He named the Roman Catholic popes from Pope Celestine II to the final pope. According to Malachy’s prophecy, the next pope, following Benedict, is to be the final pontiff, Petrus Romanus or Peter the Roman whose pontificate ends with the destruction of Rome. Many staunch Catholics and their fundamentalist counterparts, think that this next pope on St. Malachy’s list heralds the beginning of “great apostasy” followed by “great tribulation.” This sets the stage for the imminent unfolding of apocalyptic events, the end times. How interesting, and many Catholics and fundamentalist Christians buy it. Maybe the end, for sure, of Catholicism, that’s a bonus and long overdue me thinks. By the way, I'm not Peter the Roman.

  • Sheri

    Very Interesting. I just watched Mia Maxima Culpa, yesterday, the documentary on HBO about Father Murphy and the sex abuse scandals and wondered how the Pope could live with himself in light of what's been revealed an what was kept secret for so long. I wonder who will replace him and if they will change the way abuse is reported in the church?

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