Vatican says pope resigning on Feb. 28, conclave expected mid-March

The Associated Press
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VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would resign Feb. 28 — the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.

The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning.

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He emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope — the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide — requires “both strength of mind and body.”

“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 spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by 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 bark of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary — strengths which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.”

The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants.

Benedict called his choice “a decision of great importance for the life of the church.”

The move sets the stage for the Vatican to hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope doesn’t have to be observed.

There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner — the same situation when Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.



Organizations: Petrine ministry

Geographic location: VATICAN CITY

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Recent comments

  • Don
    February 11, 2013 - 18:22

    No loss, he had no guts to make any meaningful decisions. He took over a corrupt and horrible organization and it is still the same. Probably always will be especially when we still have idiots sitting in their pews.

  • Marg
    February 11, 2013 - 12:59

    Abolish the Vatican. The Catholic Church is the richest Organization in the world.

    • Patty
      February 11, 2013 - 14:35

      Can the Masonic be far behind?

  • Eli
    February 11, 2013 - 12:26

    Why wait for an enclave? Time for a woman, Gerry Rogers is ready right now!

  • Charles
    February 11, 2013 - 10:27

    No "human being" should be "God's representative" on earth, which dictates to all other denominations that Catholics are the upmost preference. I grew up as a Catholic being taught that only Catholics were going to Heaven, feeling superior to everyone who wasn't a Catholic. Some older generations still have that attitude. While I do respect Benedict XVI, there should be no such glory of a human being on earth, as well as all the wealth that goes with it.

  • darren
    February 11, 2013 - 10:12

    Don't let the doors hit you on the way out.

  • Holy Fodder
    February 11, 2013 - 08:15

    Big effin' scandal to follow.