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Pope Benedict announces resignation

February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI will resign from his papal office, effective February 28 at 8:00 PM local time.

"Dear Brothers, I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church," he said in a statement addressed to cardinals. "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."

"I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering," he continued in his statement, which was dated February 10 and released by Vatican Radio on February 11. "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 Saint 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."

"For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is," he added.

"Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer."


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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 11, 2013 4:48 PM ET USA

    We forget that at the time of Bl. John Paul's passing, Terri Schiavo was also in the midst of a life and death struggle. I believe that he deliberately made a choice to stay until his passing to give personal witness in that conflict. I love our current Holy Father and wish he would stay. But how German to get his affairs in order and depart with such class. God bless him and keep him.

  • Posted by: seewig - Feb. 11, 2013 12:32 PM ET USA

    Pope Benedict was always very logical and reasonable, probably one of the most learned men in history. He has give the Church so much especially, in his writings,- and he just looked at his situation, and remembering the lingering health with Pope John Paul II's papacy, he courageously decided to not go the same route. Of course, the Holy Spirit was was always present and will never abandon the Papacy.

  • Posted by: Jason C. - Feb. 11, 2013 12:08 PM ET USA

    Contrary1995, perhaps His Holiness is "disgracing" himself to avoid the "disgrace" to the order and discipline of the institutional Church that occurs when a mentally and physically infirm pope reigns for half a decade? Bl. JPII offered a sure sign of personal humiliation and suffering, let there be no doubt, but at great cost to the institutional Church; BXVI is choosing to humiliate himself personally in order to spare the Holy Church any such disgrace.

  • Posted by: Contrary1995 - Feb. 11, 2013 11:05 AM ET USA

    Disgraceful decision. This will lead people to think of the pope as CEO and not father. Blessed John Paul II pray for us and your successor!

  • Posted by: - Feb. 11, 2013 10:23 AM ET USA

    A Reuters article on this has the line, "The Pope does not fear schism in the Church after his resignation, the spokesman said." Pardon me? Schism? This strikes me as a bit like the "When did you stop beating your wife?" question.

  • Posted by: ForOthers8614 - Feb. 11, 2013 8:10 AM ET USA

    VIVA il Papa! Pope Benedict XVI has been such a blessing to our world. May God bless him for his faithful service to the Church and to God.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Feb. 11, 2013 7:53 AM ET USA

    Let's all pray expecially intently that the Holy Spirit inspire the Cardinals who vote to listen carefully and give us a new Holy Father with courage and holiness.

  • Posted by: chady - Feb. 11, 2013 7:46 AM ET USA

    God bless the Holy Father. What a loving and caring Pastor. To humbly bow before the Tradition of Holy Church and his apostolic forebears for the sake of the spiritual welfare of his flock. I wonder in coming to this decision he heard John Paul 11 whispering in his ear ...'Be not afraid!' In an age which so easily criticises Church Authority here is a Pope who exemplifies true Petrine wisdom and judgement. The Church will surely be blessed by the power of his prayers for the rest of his life.

  • Posted by: Niklas - Feb. 11, 2013 7:43 AM ET USA

    Oremus pro Papa nostro. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

  • Posted by: thomas.friel9910 - Feb. 11, 2013 7:43 AM ET USA

    This is most disquieting when one thinks back to Pope Benedict's inaugural Mass and one particular sentence;''Pray that I may not have to flee the wolves.''This man is without doubt the greatest Pope of modern times,all our prayers and best wishes go with him.T.Friel.

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Feb. 11, 2013 6:54 AM ET USA

    God bless our Pope - whoever he is.