Pope's Surprise Resignation Left Cardinals In The Room Speechless
Monsignor Oscar Sanchez Barba of Mexico witnessed the Pope resign, and he described the scene to John Hooper of the Guardian:
We were all in the Sala del Concistorio in the third loggia of the Apostolic palace. After giving the date for the canonisation, the 12th of May, the pope took a sheet of paper and read from it.
He just said that he was resigning and that he would be finishing on February 28.
We were all left … [he tailed off, lost for words]
The cardinals were just looking at one another. Then the pope got to his feet, gave his benediction and left. It was so simple; the simplest thing imaginable. Extraordinary. Nobody expected it.
Then we all left in silence. There was absolute silence … and sadness.
Benedict, 85, has led the church since April 2005, when he was elected to succeed Pope John Paul II.
The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII , who did so in 1415 to end the Great Western Schism that saw three people claiming the Papal throne.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters that a conclave could be held within 15 or 20 days of the resignation to choose a new pontiff , which means that the Catholic Church will be without a leader for most of March.
The pope's brother, Georg Ratzinger, said that Benedict has been considering resigned for months after his doctor advised him against taking transatlantic trips for health reasons.
"His age is weighing on him," the 89-year-old said of his 85-year-old brother. "At this age my brother wants more rest."
Here's Pope Benedict's last tweet before announcing his resignation:
We must trust in the mighty power of God’s mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new.
Sources and more information:
Resigning: Pope Benedict XVI (Picture: Reuters) Pope Benedict XVI is to resign due to his advanced age, the Vatican has confirmed in a surprise announcement. The Vatican said the Pope would resign the papal office at 8pm on February 28. In a statement, originally announced in Latin during a meeting of Holy See cardinals, the 85-year-old said he...
Pope Benedict XVI is resigning. He made the announcement Monday in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals. He said he can no longer perform his duties due to his advanced age and diminishing strength. He is the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years. The Vatican will hold a conclave and elect a new pope by the end of March.
( via businessinsider.com )
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