Pope resigning

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An early morning phone call from a good friend this morning:  “Did you hear the news?”

No.  I hadn’t heard the news.

Pope Benedict XVI is resigning.

A shock.  I have a multitude of thoughts as to the why.  I am still sifting my way through those thoughts.  My mind, however, is more geared toward the future, and who will replace him.

Will the change be good for the Church, and in being good for the Church be “good” for us all?  My prayer is that that will be so, – that we will be blessed with a Pope who comes in to ‘clean house.’  By clean house I mean purges the priesthood of all known predators and gives the boot to every Bishop and priest who covered-up for these wolves in sheep’s clothing.

There are other things I pray for, but I believe to the depth of my being that until the priesthood is purged the Church will not be healthy.

I need to think some more.



Pope Pope Benedict XVI to resign

The Pope is to resign at the end of this month in an entirely unexpected development, the Vatican says.

Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation

BBC News Europe

11 February 2013 Last updated at 08:37 ET

Damian Thompson, former editor of the Catholic Herald, says the Pope has made a “brave move”

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.

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

Under Canon Law, the only conditions for the validity of such a resignation are that it be made freely and be properly published.

A Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said that even the Pope’s closest aides did not know what he was planning to do and were left “incredulous”. He added that the decision showed “great courage” and “determination”.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is quoted as saying he was “greatly shaken by this unexpected news”.

The brother of the German-born Pope said the pontiff had been advised by his doctor not to take any more transatlantic trips and had been considering stepping down for months.

Talking from his home in Regensburg in Germany, Georg Ratzinger said his brother was having increasing difficulty walking and that his resignation was part of a “natural process”.

He added: “His age is weighing on him. At this age my brother wants more rest.”

‘Incapacity’At 78, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest new popes in history when elected.

He took the helm as one of the fiercest storms the Catholic Church has faced in decades – the scandal of child sex abuse by priests – was breaking.


  • At 78, one of the oldest new popes in history when elected in 2005
  • Born in Germany in 1927, joined Hitler Youth during WWII and was conscripted as an anti-aircraft gunner but deserted
  • As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spent 24 years in charge of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition
  • A theological conservative, with uncompromising views on homosexuality and women priests

In a statement, the pontiff said: “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.

“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 steer the boat 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 recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil 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.”

A German government spokesman said he was “moved and touched” by the surprise resignation of the pontiff.

“The German government has the highest respect for the Holy Father, for what he has done, for his contributions over the course of his life to the Catholic Church.

“He has left a very personal signature as a thinker at the head of the Church, and also as a shepherd.”

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16 Responses to Pope resigning

  1. Anon says:

    There has been speculation that the documentary Maxima Mea Culpa which is being shown on HBO has lead to the Pope announcing he will be stepping down. In the film it is alleged that Ratzinger had a major role in the cover up of Priests sexually assaulting children when he was a cardinal.

  2. Mike Mc says:

    I do believe he is stepping down for health and mind reasons. However I have no doubt that the weight of this immense problem of sexual abuse by the Church’s priests and its coverups by Bishops has made Ratzinger realize he just cannot lead the Church out of this mess. If Captain Smith had been at the helm the night of the Titanic’s moving towards icebergs, probably the disaster wouldn’t have happened. But we’ll never know. But this Pope is at the helm and he knows disaster is ahead. Better to slow down the ship and get a new Captain. Sylvia says “A pope to come in and clean house”. I suggest a complete renovation! And although Sylvia will criticise me for saying this, I suggest a sensible wholesome woman at the helm would be a good thing. The laity world wide would cheer and see a renewed future. Most Catholics still have a love and respect for Blessed Mary. But as long as we have ‘the old boys club’ and people believing in stuff like Malachy prophecies, I’m not sure where this will all go. So let us see who they elect in March. But Pope Benedict resigning?…….it’s definitely a good move.

    • Sylvia says:

      Ah dear, Mike Mac, I thought you might have meditated on this at your cabin and opted not to push my buttons again 🙂

      The Church can not and will not ever allow the ordination of women. That is part of the deposit of faith.

      I have said before and will say again, the clerical sex abuse battle can be fought apart from descending into useless debates which can go nowhere and accomplish nothing aside create mass confusion and angst. It matters not how many want women to be ordained, it is not going to happen. If a Church ordains females it is NOT the Roman Catholic Church.

      That’s it.

  3. Mike Mc says:

    ……and furthermore. I just read today this article at http://www.walksofitaly.com/blog/vatican/pope-conclave-2013
    the following interesting information:

    “Who’s eligible to be pope?”

    “More people than you might think! Contrary to popular belief, according to Vatican law, you don’t have to be a cardinal to be chosen. (Of course, the last time that happened was 1378, with Urban VI. But still).
    More surprisingly still, you don’t even have to have a Church career. Even a layman can be elected pope. (The last time that happened: Celestine V, 1294). Even a married man could be elected!
    Granted, it’s hardly likely that we’ll see any of these come to pass in 2013. But it was hardly likely Benedict XVI would become the first pope in 600 years to resign, either. So who knows!”

    So according to Vatican Law a married man can be elected Pope or a layman with no career in the Church.

    But who cannot be a pope? They put the words “heretic and female” in the same sentence.

    And you want to tell me the Church’s Old boys club isn’t backwards? What do the Catholic women of the world think of this? And I bet many men think women should be allowed as well.

    If sex abuse was/is rampant amongst its male priests, and Bishops felt/feel a need to coverup this,….,..then I think that says something about the need for women as priests/Bishops in the Catholic Church. Can this male dominated church continue to call those male dominated shots? T’is time for a BIG change and I hope it begins with Benedict’s resignation.

    • Sylvia says:

      Read Pope John Paul’s Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis: and canon 332:

      Can. 332 §1 The Roman Pontiff acquires full and supreme power in the Church when, together with episcopal consecration, he has been lawfully elected and has accepted the election. Accordingly, if he already has the episcopal character, he receives this power from the moment he accepts election to the supreme pontificate. If he does not have the episcopal character, he is immediately to be ordained Bishop.

      §2 Should it happen that the Roman Pontiff resigns from his office, it is required for validity that the resignation be freely made and properly manifested, but it is not necessary that it be accepted by anyone.

      Commentaries on the Code state that if the person elected is not a bishop he is to be consecrated immediately. According to Pope Paul Vi’s norms the election of such a person is not to be “communicated” until he has been consecrated.

      Wishful thinking on your part Mike Mac, but I can’t see the Cardinals going the route of electing a married man, not with the current discipline of celibacy.

      Yes, they could elect a single layman. I recall reading of such cases in the past and believe that the individual had to ordained to the priesthood first and then consecrated bishop. I think that in this day and age it is highly unlikely that the Cardinals would opt to vote a layman as Pope, but, you’re quite right, there is nothing, barring sheer common sense, which would prohibit them from doing so. I can find nothing current which addresses the issue of what to do if a layman is elected in conclave, perhaps that reflects the reality that times have changed and it is unlikely to happen? I just don’t know.

      Anyway, no more advocacy for women’s ordination Mike Mac. I am hard-pressed to know exactly what you are after, but it seems to me you want a Church which does not bear the slightest resemblance to the Roman Catholic Church. I firmly believe we can have a Church purged of predators and their enablers, which continues to uphold the deposit of faith. Get rid of the predators. That’s the battle.

  4. PJ says:

    You know the old saying about ratz(inger) leaving a sinking ship!! It starts now.

  5. JG says:

    I am not taking sides here, just thinking out loud….

    This debate reminds me of the debate in the U.S. about the ” second amendment”…
    People in that situation fail to see that the “right to be bear arms” is from a 1791 time in history…in our evolution. You have to set yourself back in that context and consider the demography, the primitive setting. Of course everyone should be allowed to have his own “MUSKET” to hunt, feed his family, fight off any intruders…Fast forward to 2013, very few people need to hunt to feed their family and very few if any would have any use for a “MUSKET”…But they will go to war for the right to own machine guns, AK-47’s, …In the spirit of the origins of the “2ND amendment”, I would agree that anyone and everyone should be allowed to own his “MUSKET” in 2013. Otherwise in another 100 years, will everyone be requesting the right to own their personal “atomic bomb”!!!!???? Our past, our present debates will hopefully not be our future…
    Our “Religions”, our “Faiths” should also be considering their origins and their evolution. Why would it be wrong for Muslims to try to reset the clock to “pre” year 1000 when we as Catholics will not even consider the changes and the evolution of the last 2000 years!…and the atrocities our “church” perpetrated! Just a mere 50 years ago, Catholic women were treated like servants, slaves to their husbands…not very far remote from the women we want to protect and defend…liberate, in the Muslim world.
    It is an evolution. It is all about LOVE. Jesus did not put down or elevate anyone in particular…he HUMBLED himself for the ultimate sacrifice, for LOVE.
    If everything was so perfect, so “finite” from the beginning… then there would have been no need for Jesus to come to us. We would continue to live and die for “an eye for an eye”…Nothing is etched in stone except the changes of time.
    HE created the world. It is changing, expanding, evolving. Why won’t we?
    Keep an open mind!
    One day, the Pope will only be a doorman…
    The “Message” was about living in “Peace”…however we can figure out how to get there with the gifts we received.

    • Sylvia says:

      There have been many changes in the Church over the past 2000 years JG, but, as I said to Mike Mac, some things are not subject to change and will never change. Celibacy is a discipline and therefore can and could change – a celibate (unmarried) is not and never has been carved in stone. As I’m sure you know we have seen a number of married Anglican priests received into the Roman Catholic Church in the past years who are now functioning as priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

      Women’s ordination is a different matter.

      Re keep an open mind. I will always be open minded in the pursuit of truth – once I find truth I hold onto it. Heaven forbid my mind is so open all the time that I lose that which I once so earnestly sought 🙂

      We must agree here to disagree.

      • JG says:

        We don’t need to agree or disagree. Your opinion doesn’t matter to me or to anyone else. Just go back in the kitchen where you belong with the rest of your kind. Who gave you permission to interrupt????


  6. Mike Mc says:

    “Get rid of the predators. That’s the battle.” Sylvia, of course I agree and I understand fully why you built this site. It has been an eyeopener. As I said before, I have personally known priests &Bishop accused who were found guilty – it has been most disturbing to see.
    But every now and then I surface from “the Cove” and catch up. I would let it go….about women priests helping to establish an abuse free church….but I don’t want to. The coverups and money spent by the Church to protect the Church….and all done by so called MEN of the cloth. There is something wrong there. You know it too.

    JC above says it well: “Just a mere 50 years ago, Catholic women were treated like servants, slaves to their husbands…not very far remote from the women we want to protect and defend…liberate, in the Muslim world.” Women have come a long way. The Church, though, lives in its own historic past. Yet you admit a single man can be Pope. God forbid a “married man” become a Pope. But you admit it is possible.

    Well, JG makes his points clear that even the Church can change. He so eloquently says:
    It is an evolution. It is all about LOVE. Jesus did not put down or elevate anyone in particular…he HUMBLED himself for the ultimate sacrifice, for LOVE.”

    Sylvia, if the Church truly is LOVE, then it can change. That’s why I think my statements about women in the priesthood is important in this site too. Please be more open minded. I am not really debating this, just opening a few minds.

    • Sylvia says:

      Truth IS. Truth does not change. Policies, practices and procedures and all the icing surrounding the truth which are implemented to impart a particular truth can change, but not the truth itself. How far do you go with this?

      I have told you before and will tell you yet again that there is many a nun who has molested, and many more who have enabled predatory priests. I am not for a moment saying that all nuns fall into that category, but many have. You want them to be priests? You think that will solve the problem? You can’t be serious? But, alas, I think perhaps you are.

      Anyway, end of discussion. Back to your cove.

  7. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    You make me roll around on the ground with hysterical stomach pains! You should do a “stand-up routine” ! Ratz@#$%^&!!!!!! I’kll take deep breaths and calm down shortly (hah) Mike.

  8. P J says:

    Laughter is the best medicine and we need lots of it to get past this church and it’s perverted collars. Glad to make your day!!

  9. Newfoundland Dog says:

    In the link provided by Mike Mc, there is a section dealing with the question Have conclaves always been the way to elect a new pope? The section leaves me wonderingabout the role of the Holy Spirit in a conclave.If what the Second Council of Lyons in 1274 setup as conclave rules were to unfold, the Holy Spirit would appear to even use starvation tactics to encourage the choice of a new pope… hardly what one would expect of the Holy Sprit’s method of guidance. Also, before the 13th century, if the Holy Spirit is involved in the selection of a new pope,it is hard to understandhow the same H

  10. Newfoundland Dog says:

    In the link provided by Mike Mc, there is a section dealing with the question Have conclaves always been the way to elect a new pope? The section leaves me wondering about the role of the Holy Spirit in a conclave. If what the Second Council of Lyons in 1274 set up as conclave rules were to unfold, the Holy Spirit would even appear to use starvation tactics to encourage the selection of a new pope…hardly what one would expect of the Holy Spirit’s method of guidance. Also, before the 13th century, if the Holy Spirit is involved in the selection of a new pope, it is difficult to understand how the same Holy Spirit would be at work when the cardinals nominated to pick the successor could debate for months or even years before choosing a new pope. Just thinking and wondering about the role of the Holy Spirit in a conclave.

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