The first to do so in 600 years.

Via the Los Angeles Times.

Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he will step down on Feb. 28 due to failing health, stunning the world’s 1 billion Catholics by becoming the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign from the office.

The German pontiff, 85, made his surprise statement to cardinals during a Vatican concistory on Monday, saying “my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” a reference to his duties as leader of the church.

Speaking at a ceremony held to canonize three new saints, Benedict said he would step down at 8 p.m. on Feb. 28. Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said a conclave of cardinals would be held in March to elect a new pope in time for Easter.

Italian cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, said Benedict’s announcement was a “bolt out of the blue.”

Describing his decision as being “of great importance for the life of the church,” Benedict told cardinals that “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 Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary.”

His strength, he added, “has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

Vatican insiders have noted that Benedict has become more frail in recent months; he requires a moving platform to transport him down the aisle at St Peter’s Basilica during services and has slowed during his walks in the Vatican gardens. His private life was recently exposed to public scrutiny after his butler was convicted by a Vatican court for leaking papal correspondence.

Additional Coverage:

Breitbart: The Pope and the dignity of resignation

National Journal: Why Popes Matter to Presidents

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16 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. TX Soldier254 says:

    Good for Pope Benedict!

    Pastors resign from their leadership role as Head of the Church all the time, due to age and or health. To me it means that they care about Gods Flock, since they are Gods Anointed Shepherd, and the Pope is no different.

    May the Lord continue to Shine his Grace upon him.

  2. midget says:

    The day he was elected I told a friend that it would be wonderful if Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope and when he came out on the balcony we were overjoyed and shocked. Today I am equally shocked but saddened. I agree with TX that he cares about the church and I pray for his successor. Jesus promised that “the gates of hell would not prevail” against the church He founded so I know all is well.God Bless the Holy Father.

  3. Chuck says:

    I wonder if this happened after the DB made a surprise secret visit to the Vatican …

  4. Patricia says:

    If only some of those in Congress would take a lesson from the Pope; resign please…RESIGN!!

  5. Trace says:

    He was a truly good man. He was forced to join the Hitler Youth but did not participate. We will miss him as pope.

  6. otlset says:

    I hope mounting frivolous lawsuits weren’t involved. The media has a different meme for quitting under those circumstances.

    • MaryVal says:

      The media are morons. I very much doubt that Benedict consulted them or confided his thought process to them. He resigned because of the debility of age. He felt he couldn’t do the job required any longer, and the Church deserved a pastor who could withstand the demands of the position; he is that kind of man. We’ll miss him.

  7. trevy says:

    I’m a Southern Baptist who says, “God Bless you Pope Benedict.”

  8. MaryVal says:

    A further thought on the MSM: they are largely rationalistic, atheistic, nihilistic, narcissistic, Socialistic, anti-Christian, judging by their publications and commentary. The motives of a spiritual man like Benedict are so far outside the bounds of their interior life they have no frame of reference to undertand them. They will interpret Benedict’s action in light of their own biases, which won’t have even a passing resemblance to the truth of the matter.

  9. Cathode Rays says:

    I hope he was well as can be.

    Thought he brought an interesting new energy with him.

  10. geezee says:

    i think it’s humorous to watch the MSM here, as if the Vatican is a democracy or as if a POPE is resigning due to some impending scandalous who-knows-what. it’s all the MSM know. it’s complete projection: nothing is as it seems, no one is decent or good, and there will be an accounting, by God, to the almighty MSM (unless of course you’re a proponent of EVIL in the world. in that case you’re not only given a pass, you’re enabled, encouraged, and promoted as GOOD).

    thank God, in this case, the MSM can be completely ignored.

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