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Pope Benedict XVI to resign Feb. 28, says he’s too infirm

Monday, February 11, 2013

VATICAN CITY — Declaring that he lacks the strength to do his job, Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday he will resign Feb. 28 — becoming the first pontiff to step down in 600 years. His decision sets the stage for a mid-March conclave to elect a new leader for a Catholic Church in deep turmoil.

The 85-year-old pope dropped the bombshell in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, surprising even his closest collaborators even though he had made clear previously that he would step down if he became too old or infirm to carry on.

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

Indeed, the move allows the Vatican to hold a conclave before Easter to elect a new pope, since the traditional nine days of mourning that would follow the death of a pope doesn’t have to be observed.

It will also allow Benedict to hold great sway over the choice of his successor, though he will not vote. He has already hand-picked the bulk of the College of Cardinals — the princes of the church who will elect the next pope — to guarantee his conservative legacy and ensure an orthodox future for the church.

“Without doubt this is a historic moment,” said Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, a protege and former theology student of Benedict’s who himself is considered a papal contender. “Right now, 1.2 billion Catholics the world over are holding their breath.”

Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, called the decision a “liberating act for the future,” saying popes from now on will no longer feel compelled to stay on until their death.

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Filed under: Europe

17 more reader comments:

  1. agree

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 12:36pm
  2. Infirm aye.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 12:36pm
  3. YES!!!!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 12:36pm
  4. Wowww!!!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 12:37pm
  5. Infirmed and guilty of covering up molestation against kids!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 12:38pm
  6. Finally the DEVIL WEARS PRADA is gone!!! time to celebrate!!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 12:39pm
  7. Goodbye Emperor Palpatine!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 12:41pm
  8. Good riddance I say.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 12:44pm
  9. As the Catholics say: PRAISE JESUS

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 12:46pm
  10. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out your Holiness- Bye then x

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 12:48pm
  11. Only trouble is that some of the cardinals who will vote for his replacement were those that covered up the child molestations within the church. They have been removed from active preaching but not from their duties within the Vatican.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 12:48pm
  12. Someone must have the pictures of him singing in front of a young boy……”Like a prayer”
    I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there
    In the midnight hour I can feel your power
    Just like a prayer you know I’ll take you there,

    “The rats are the first leaving a sinking ship, Rat Ratzinger is running away, I wonder what is he hiding!!!!!!!!!”

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 1:02pm
  13. Buh Bye!!!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 1:03pm
  14. Obviously he did not want to endure the death experience of John Paul II.

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 1:05pm
  15. blah blah blah……darkside……lol

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 1:28pm
  16. Yes!!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 2:28pm
  17. Pick Sr. Simone!!

    Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 3:30pm