Head of Church Resigns

By DeusExMacintosh

Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85.

The unexpected development – the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years – surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even his closest aides. The Vatican says it expects a new Pope to be elected before Easter.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope in 2005 after John Paul II’s death.

I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me”

The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says the move has come as a shock – but adds that in theory there has never been anything stopping Pope Benedict or any of his predecessors from stepping aside.

Under the Catholic Church’s governing code, Canon Law, the only conditions for the validity of such a resignation are that it be made freely and be properly published. But resignation is extremely rare: the last Pope to step aside was Pope Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415 amid a schism within the Church…

The Pope is not expected to take part in the conclave that will choose his successor, and will then retire to the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo when he leaves office.

BBC News


  1. Posted February 12, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Betty has not put a foot wrong as head of a high church – despite other church heads being infallible (yet their steps wrong-footed).

    Anyone know the correct term for an ex pontiff? Does he stay Benedict or return to Ratzinger?

  2. Nick Ferrett
    Posted February 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I believe his next gig is as a Bond Villain

  3. Tom Isaac
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    Maybe the predictions of Nostradamus will come to pass. One certainly hopes not as it could be the start of the anti-christ and the apocalypse, all the signs are there.

  4. Terry Rodgers
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Tom – were you thinking of the ‘Prophecy of the Popes’ by any chance?

    The next Pope is supposed to see judgement and the destruction of Rome.
    (The one after will no doubt see an end to the confirmation bias that’s been propping up this prophecy for so long.)

  5. Posted February 13, 2013 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    [email protected], are you sure he hasn’t been cast in the new star wars movie?

  6. davoh
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    WOW! Ya mean that the Supreme Pontiff, Universal Papa – is fallable?

  7. davoh
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    response to DaveBath 1; this is the curiousity.

    It is, more or less, ‘unprecedented’ … he was, actually – ‘voted in’ to the job; does he become an “ex POPE” ; a ‘retired Pope’; similar to ‘discarded’ Presidents of the USA?

  8. Posted February 13, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    [email protected] Infallibility applies only when he is speaking ex cathedra.

    Also, the doctrine was declared by Vatican I. Now, here’s a question to conjure with. Are Church Council’s infallible? Or did they make a mistake in declaring the Pope infallible when speaking ex cathedra?

  9. kvd
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    She (E2R) has a far better milliner, I’ve always thought.

  10. davoh
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Lorenzo 8

    Yes, and Yes.

  11. davoh
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Ooer, brings up a whole heap of concepts …. where does a “retired” god go?

  12. Posted February 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    [email protected], the answers to those questions just depends on how creatively you interpret the bible. Theology is what you get when lawyers are not constrained by reality.

  13. John H.
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Theology is what you get when lawyers are not constrained by reality.

    That’s wonderful, thanks desipis.

    BTW there is an entertaining Italian movie: We have a Pope, which is about what happens when you don’t have a Pope.

  14. John H.
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Talking of movies. I only caught the last half hour of this the other night and once again the French demonstrate their wonderful sense of humour.

    Cairo, Nest of Spies.


  15. Posted February 13, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Davoh @11: be fair, he’s not supposed to be God, he’s God’s chaplain remember (making the supreme being a pretty over-serviced patron in the three popes era).

    [email protected]: it takes something special to wear a hat and make it look good. She has it.

  16. davoh
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    replying to DeusExMacintosh .. um, i must be VERY OLD person (i.e. am reluctant to speak “at” you )… que.

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