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Pope Benedict XVI First to Resign Office in Nearly 600 Years

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer on February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world on Monday by announcing he will resign at the end of February. The Pope, now 85, said he was “no longer adequate to continue in office due to his advanced age,” becoming the first Pontiff to step down since Gregory XII quit in 1415.

The Pope’s brother reportedly said Benedict XVI was told by his physician that he could no longer take transatlantic trips for health reasons.

CBS, still in Grammys mode, immediately cut to Taylor Swift for reaction:


Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, was selected to lead the church at the last Papal Conclave in 2005. His selection lasted only four ballots. A new Pope will be selected by the end of March.

Read up on the process of choosing the next Pope here. It’s fascinating.

First Tweet: Pope Benedict XVI Loses His Twitter Virginity
High Art: The Pope, Made From Condoms

Pope Benedict XVI
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Here are the BetPack.com odds for the next Pope:

ope odds

The Pope’s resignation letter:

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both 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. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.”

Vatican Pope Resigns
AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo

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