Frail Pope, in a Break With Tradition, Says He Will Resign

NEW YORK TIMES…During what was supposed to be a routine meeting to discuss the canonization of three potential saints, [Pope Benedict XVI ] read a statement that said, in part, that after examining his 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 leading the world’s one billion Roman Catholics. He was resigning on Feb. 28, he said, becoming the first pope to do so in six centuries.

“In today’s world,” Benedict said in his announcement, “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, 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.”…

Some said that Benedict’s decision to step down was one of the most dramatic acts in the history of the papacy. “This decision has been the only great reform of Benedict, and at the same time it is a revolutionary step for the Catholic Church,” said Marco Politi, a Vatican expert and author of a book on Benedict’s papacy. While in past centuries, popes had stepped down over political struggles, Mr. Politi said, “this is a clear decision and a free decision made by the pope that will set an example also for the future, setting a limit for the pontificate.”…  (more)

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Updated: February 12, 2013 — 11:39 am