RELIGION

Why Did Pope Resign? Frail, Not Ill, Faced No Pressure To Resign, Vatican Insists

02/11/2013 07:59 am ET | Updated Apr 13, 2013

ROME, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict has no specific illness and his decision to resign was taken with no outside pressure, the Vatican spokesman said on Monday after the pontiff's shock announcement that he would step down at the end of this month.

Father Federico Lombardi said the 85 year-old pope's decision was not due to an illness but to a progressive decline in his strength which was normal in a man of his age.

"In the last few months he has seen a decline in vigour, both of the body and spirit," Lombardi told reporters. "It was his personal decision taken with full freedom, which deserves maximum respect," he added.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella, writing by Gavin Jones)

02/12/2013 10:45 PM EST

Pope's Brother Says Benedict XVI Won't Return Home

AP reports:

REGENSBURG, Germany — Pope Benedict XVI is planning to stay out of the public eye following his retirement at the end of the month but may stand ready to advise his successor if asked, his brother said Tuesday after talking with the pontiff.

Speaking to reporters at his home in the southern German city of Regensburg, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, who was ordained on the same day in 1951 as his brother Joseph, said he didn't expect Benedict's continued presence in the Vatican to intimidate the next pope.

Continue reading here.

02/12/2013 9:46 PM EST

The Latest Betting Line On The Next Pope

Keith Thomson writes in a blog post:

Much is at stake with the selection of Pope Benedict XVI's successor, including a lot of money. Paddy Power, Europe's largest bookmaker, has already taken more than £100,000 in bets, and expects to see multi-million-pound action closer to next month's conclave at the Sistine Chapel.

While Las Vegas casinos refuse to accept such bets for reasons of "taste," Paddy Power is one of several major international bookmakers currently offering papal markets, not only on who will be the next pope, but what papal name he'll choose, his country of origin, and the length of the papal conclave, among others.

Continue reading here.

02/12/2013 6:09 PM EST

Topless Feminists Hail Pope Benedict's Resignation

A group of topless activists scandalized visitors at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral on Tuesday by disrobing in public to celebrate Pope Benedict XVI's resignation.

The small group of women, all affiliated with radical feminist group FEMEN, flashed their breasts and banged on bells in the cathedral, shouting slogans such as, "Bye Bye Benedict" and "No more homophobe," according to the Agence France-Presse.

Continue reading here.

02/12/2013 6:06 PM EST

With Pope Benedict's Resignation, Gay Rights Advocates Hope For Change

HuffPost's Lila Shapiro reports:

Jeannine Gramick, a Roman Catholic nun and co-founder of a U.S. ministry for gay and lesbian Catholics, met Pope Benedict XVI only once, by chance, on a plane flying from Baltimore to Rome in the late-'90s. Because of her work with the lesbian and gay community, Gramick had by then been under investigation by the Vatican for more than two decades.

The encounter was serendipitous, Gramick recalled Monday after hearing news of Benedict's resignation. Gramick and leaders at her ministry had been worried that she would be excommunicated. She was traveling with the head of her order to Munich, via Rome, to pray that she would keep her place in the church. When she boarded the plane, she saw Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became pope, sitting with two empty seats beside him. She mustered her courage and sat next to him. "When he found out who I was, he just smiled and said 'Oh, I've known about you for 20 years,'" she said.

Continue reading here.

02/12/2013 5:52 PM EST

Nuns Pray Inside St. Peter's Basilica

vatican nuns pray

Nuns pray inside St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. With a few words in Latin, Pope Benedict XVI did what no pope has done in more than half a millennium, stunning the world by announcing his resignation Monday and leaving the already troubled Catholic Church to replace the leader of its 1 billion followers by Easter. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

02/12/2013 5:24 PM EST

Vatican Plans Big Send-Off For Pope Benedict XVI

Reuters reports:

VATICAN CITY, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Cardinals around the world began informal contacts to discuss who should next lead the Church through a period of major crisis and the Vatican said it planned a big send-off for Pope Benedict before he becomes the first pontiff in centuries to resign.

At a Tuesday news conference on how the pope plans to spend the next two weeks before he steps out of the limelight, the Vatican also disclosed that the 85-year-old Benedict has been wearing a pacemaker since before he was elected pope in 2005.

Continue reading here.

02/12/2013 5:10 PM EST

Cardinal Seán O'Malley, OFM, Cap: Pope Benedict Was Committed To Ensure Abuse Would Not Be Repeated

Yesterday morning the Church and the world learned that Pope Benedict XVI, following an extended period of prayer and reflection, discerned that he would resign the papacy at the end of this month. This news certainly came as a great surprise to all of us. It would be reasonable to consider that the Holy Father's advancing age and the responsibilities of being the leader for more than one billion Catholics, including the demands of extensive international travel, played a central role in his decision. We join the universal Church in offering prayerful gratitude for the Holy Father's faith, courage and his leadership as the successor of Peter.

At this time it is appropriate for the Church and all people of good faith to reflect on Pope Benedict's legacy and achievements. He brought unique capabilities to the papacy as a highly qualified scholar and teacher, and as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in service to Blessed John Paul II. His fidelity to maintaining the truth and clarity of the Catholic faith, to cultivating ecumenical and interfaith dialogue and in reaching out to inspire the next generation of Catholics have been great gifts to us all.

During the course of the past eight years Pope Benedict embraced the papacy with the heart of a kind and caring shepherd, always holding the spiritual and pastoral care of the people of God to be the highest priority. The Holy Father also generously used his superior intellectual gifts, well established through his reputation as a renowned scholar, to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church with people from all walks of life throughout the world. He guided the Church through unprecedented challenges, always finding strength in Jesus' promise to be with us always, and led a world-wide renewal of evangelization that will influence the Catholicism for generations to come.

The Archdiocese of Boston in particular has been greatly blessed by Pope Benedict's care and concern.In all of my conversations with him he has always asked me to assure this local Church of his prayers and encouragement. I will always hold the Holy Father's 2008 meeting with survivors of clergy sexual abuse, and our presentation of the Book of Names of living and deceased survivors, as one of the most powerful experiences of my life and priesthood.

His overwhelming sorrow that such heinous crimes were perpetrated on the survivors and his heartfelt expression of love and concern were deeply moving, as was his absolute commitment that the abuse never be repeated and that the Church maintain her vigilance to do everything possible to insure the safety of children.

While there will be much speculation in the days and weeks ahead regarding who will follow the Holy Father to the Chair of Peter, at this moment we are called to reflect on Pope Benedict's leadership; offering prayers of gratitude for this servant of Christ who so dearly loves all of God's people. At this extraordinary moment in the life of the Church, we pray for the wisdom and grace of the Holy Spirit and the strength given by our Lord, who, assures us that he will be with us always.

02/12/2013 4:58 PM EST

Cardindal Francis Arinze: 'We Know You Have Done This For The Love Of The Church'

Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship, releases a statement:

02/12/2013 3:17 PM EST

The Monastery Where The Pope Is Expected To Live After He Resigns

mater ecclesiae monastery

A view of the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, right, next to the Tower of San Giovanni, inside the Vatican State where Pope Benedict XVI is expected to live after he resigns, on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. For months, construction crews have been renovating a four-story building attached to a monastery on the northern edge of the Vatican gardens where nuns would live for a few years at a time in cloister. Only a handful of Vatican officials knew it would one day be Pope Benedict XVI's retirement home. On Tuesday, construction materials littered the front lawn of the house and plastic tubing snaked down from the top floor to a dump truck as the restoration deadline became ever more critical following Benedict's stunning announcement that he would resign Feb. 28 and live his remaining days in prayer. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

02/12/2013 3:15 PM EST

FEMEN Protest Against Pope Benedict XVI

femen protest

Activists of the Women's Movement FEMEN, protest against the Pope Benedict XVI who announced his resignation yesterday, in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

","short_text":"

Lightening strikes St Peter's on day #Pope Benedict announces resignation from Vatican (pic ANSA) Read More"},{"id":"69","created":"02/11/2013 6:53 PM EST","title":"Pope Benedict's XVI's Resignation Marks Reform For Catholic Church","tweet_link":"69_pope-benedicts-xvis-resignation-marks-reform-for-catholic-church","entry_text":"

HuffPost Italy's Piero Schiavazzi reports:

Pope Celestine V’s name has been the one most cited in the news and the most searched online in relation to Pope Benedict XVI's Monday resignation. Yet a historical comparison between the two popes does not reveal Benedict's action to be an escape from duty, as Celestine's was, but rather an act of government. To be more precise, Benedict's resignation represents a reform, perhaps the largest in the Catholic Church's post-Council history.

Benedict’s “grand refusal,” unlike that of Celestine, modifies customs rather than solidifying them. It is not an unrepeatable exception, or an accident to avoid, but could become an example to follow. It essentially changes the material constitution of the Church and introduces a precedent that any successor from now on will have to face, without the shelter of tradition.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

HuffPost Italy's Piero Schiavazzi reports:

Pope Celestine V’s name has been the one most cited in the news ...Read More"},{"id":"68","created":"02/11/2013 6:22 PM EST","title":"Pope Benedict Shows Lifetime Jobs Aren't Always For Life","tweet_link":"68_pope-benedict-shows-lifetime-jobs-arent-always-for-life","entry_text":"

AP reports:

The world seems surprised that an 85-year-old globe-trotting pope who just started tweeting wants to resign, but should it be? Maybe what should be surprising is that more leaders his age do not, considering the toll aging takes on bodies and minds amid a culture of constant communication and change.

There may be more behind the story of why Pope Benedict XVI decided to leave a job normally held for life. But the pontiff made it about age. He said the job called for \"both strength of mind and body\" and said his was deteriorating. He spoke of \"today's world, subject to so many rapid changes,\" implying a difficulty keeping up.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

AP reports:

The world seems surprised that an 85-year-old globe-trotting pope who just started tweeting wants to resign, b...Read More"},{"id":"67","created":"02/11/2013 6:01 PM EST","title":"The Complex Legacy Of Pope Benedict","tweet_link":"67_the-complex-legacy-of-pope-benedict","entry_text":"

HuffPost Religion Senior Editor Paul Raushenbush writes in a blog post:

Pope Benedict has announced his plans to resign at the end of February and a Vatican spokesperson insists that there will be a new Pope selected by Easter.

The betting has already begun on who the next Pope will be, but it is worthwhile considering what a complex legacy Pope Benedict will leave. Catholics may be surprised at how closely non-Catholics follow these very public moments in their Church, and how invested other Christians, and people of other faith and no faith are in the machinations of the Catholic Church.

Our interest lies in the reality that the papacy holds immense power not only to form Catholic spirituality and morality but also to influence policy on issues that affect Catholics and non-Catholics alike. We all have some stake in who the leader of over a billion humans will be because we have seen how influential the past Popes have been.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

HuffPost Religion Senior Editor Paul Raushenbush writes in a blog post:

Pope Benedict has announced his plan...Read More"},{"id":"66","created":"02/11/2013 5:57 PM EST","title":"Pope Benedict XVI Pushed Charities To Go Beyond Routine Giving","tweet_link":"66_pope-benedict-xvi-pushed-charities-to-go-beyond-routine-giving","entry_text":"

Religious leaders are honoring Pope Benedict XVI for his emphasis on making service a cornerstone of one's life.

Benedict, who announced Monday that he is resigning Feb. 28, has long called on Catholic charity organizations to go beyond routine service acts and to truly exemplify the meaning of giving.

“Charity must express a genuine love for people, a love animated by a personal encounter with Christ,\" the 85-year-old pope said in an apostolic letter he released in December, Catholic News Agency reported. He went on to push Catholic charities to avoid being “just another form of organized social assistance,\" and called on bishops to more closely monitor local charities to ensure their efforts align with Catholic teachings.

Continue reading here.

-- Jessica Prois

","short_text":"

Religious leaders are honoring Pope Benedict XVI for his emphasis on making service a cornerstone of one's life.

Benedict, who announced Monday that he is resigning Feb. 28, has long called on Catholic charity organizations to go beyo...Read More"},{"id":"65","created":"02/11/2013 5:32 PM EST","title":"Pope's Close Friend Says Resignation News 'Caught Everyone By Surprise' ","tweet_link":"65_popes-close-friend-says-resignation-news-caught-everyone-by-surprise-","entry_text":"

HuffPost Italy's Pietro Salvatori reports:

“I was with the pope on Friday. While his precarious health situation was obvious, there was no sign that he was about to make this decision,\" said Edoardo Viganò, a longtime professor at Luiss University in Rome and the manager of the Vatican Television Center, of Pope Benedict XVI's decision to announce his resignation Monday.

\"This news has truly caught everyone by surprise,\" Viganò told The Huffington Post, \"and I do not believe that there was any prior indication of this from Pope Benedict XVI, except maybe to his closest advisors.\"

The move is unprecedented in modern Church history.

To understand it, one must consider both the speed with which the social and geopolitical worlds are changing, as well as the advanced age of the pope. Because of this, the decision is unexpected but also the product of a logical and powerful reasoning.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

HuffPost Italy's Pietro Salvatori reports:

“I was with the pope on Friday. While his precarious health situation wa...Read More"},{"id":"64","created":"02/11/2013 5:30 PM EST","title":"Fr. James Martin's Reflection On Pope Benedict's Abdication","tweet_link":"64_fr-james-martins-reflection-on-pope-benedicts-abdication","entry_text":"

\"JamesMartinSJ\"

@ JamesMartinSJ :

Leaders can learn a lot from a pope who knows that he is not indispensable. He is not Christ. He was only his Vicar, and only for a time.

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ JamesMartinSJ :\r\nLeaders can learn a lot from a pope who knows that he is not indispensable. He is not Christ. He was o...Read More"},{"id":"63","created":"02/11/2013 5:24 PM EST","title":"Pope Benedict -- An Evangelist For Interfaith Dialogue? ","tweet_link":"63_pope-benedict-an-evangelist-for-interfaith-dialogue-","entry_text":"

\"ABC7Chicago\"

@ ABC7Chicago :

#CardinalGeorge says some of #Pope Benedict XVI's biggest accomplishments were his teachings and his concern for interfaith dialogue.

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ ABC7Chicago :\r\n#CardinalGeorge says some of #Pope Benedict XVI's biggest accomplishments were his teachings and his concern...Read More"},{"id":"61","created":"02/11/2013 4:42 PM EST","title":"America's Largest Muslim Group Offers Best Wishes To Pope Benedict","tweet_link":"61_americas-largest-muslim-group-offers-best-wishes-to-pope-benedict","entry_text":"

Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement:

\"We offer the American Muslim community's best wishes to Pope Benedict XVI as he leaves his position as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

\"In recent years -- and despite some passing controversies -- relations between Muslims and Catholics have strengthened, particularly on issues related to social justice and family values.

\"We look forward to continued and growing positive interfaith relations under the new pontiff as Muslims in the United States and worldwide join with people of all faiths and cultures who seek to make a better world.\"

","short_text":"

Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement:

\"We offer the American Muslim community's best wishes to Pope Benedict XVI as he leaves his position as head of th...Read More"},{"id":"60","created":"02/11/2013 4:33 PM EST","title":"Pope Benedict XVI's Legacy: The First Twitter, Facebook Pope","tweet_link":"60_pope-benedict-xvis-legacy-the-first-twitter-facebook-pope","entry_text":"

HuffPost's Craig Kanalley writes in a blog post:

Less than two months after tweeting for the first time on his official Twitter account, Pope Benedict XVI announced he is signing off from the papacy.

The resignation announcement is a rarity: The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII in 1415. There was no printing press at the time, let alone tweets!

Pope Benedict cited his \"advanced age\" as the reason for his stepping aside and said he will do so on Feb. 28. Of course, speculation is rampant on social networks that there is more to this story than that.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

HuffPost's Craig Kanalley writes in a blog post:

Less than two months after tweeting for the first time on ...Read More"},{"id":"59","created":"02/11/2013 4:06 PM EST","title":"What Will Happen Next? ","tweet_link":"59_what-will-happen-next-","entry_text":"

What happens next at the Vatican and who do we expect to be in position to become the new Pope? Rev. Paul Raushenbush, Professor Massimo Faggioli, Professor Richard Gaillardetz and Brian Flanagan join HuffPost Live host Mike Sacks to discuss.

","short_text":"

What happens next at the Vatican and who do we expect to be in position to become the new Pope? Rev. Paul Raushenbush, Professor Massimo Faggioli, Professor Richard Gaillardetz and Brian Flanagan join HuffPost Live host Mike Sacks to discuss. ...Read More"},{"id":"58","created":"02/11/2013 3:55 PM EST","title":"Cardinal Egan: Decision To Retire 'Proof Of His Total Dediction To The Church' ","tweet_link":"58_cardinal-egan-decision-to-retire-proof-of-his-total-dediction-to-the-church-","entry_text":"

The announcement by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, that for reasons of advanced age he has decided to retire from his service as Supreme Pontiff is yet another proof of his total dedication to the Church of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. One of the most distinguished theologians of our time and a pastor of souls who has given himself to the People of God with unlimited commitment, he and his distinguished leadership will be sorely missed.

When I was consecrated a bishop, in Rome in 1985, the Holy Father, at that time Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, kindly participated in the liturgy; and when I left Rome to travel to New York two months later, he returned to the Eternal City from a spiritual retreat to wish me well and assure me of his prayers. Thus it is that I have just written him a warm, filial, letter to profess my unlimited loyalty and promise to keep him in my Masses and prayers throughout the years that lie ahead.

","short_text":"

The announcement by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, that for reasons of advanced age he has decided to retire from his service as Supreme Pontiff is yet another proof of his total dedication to the Church of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. One of t...Read More"},{"id":"57","created":"02/11/2013 3:50 PM EST","title":"Pope Benedict Considered A Friend By Israel","tweet_link":"57_pope-benedict-considered-a-friend-by-israel","entry_text":"

From AP:

JERUSALEM -- When Joseph Ratzinger became pope in 2005, many in Israel wondered whether the German-born Cardinal with the Nazi past would prove a worthy successor to the popular Pope John Paul II, whose pluralistic path helped sooth centuries of fraught relations between Jews and Christians.

Eight years later, following his surprise resignation Monday, Israeli leaders lauded Pope Benedict XVI as a friend who helped promote dialogue and coexistence.

\"I greatly appreciate him for his immense activity to interfaith connection that has contributed greatly to the reduction of anti-Semitism in the world,\" said Yona Metzger, one of Israel's two chief rabbis. \"I pray that his legacy is preserved and that the trends he led will continue since the relations between the rabbinate and the church during his term were the best ever.\"

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

From AP:

JERUSALEM -- When Joseph Ratzinger became pope in 2005, many in Israel wondered whether the German-born Cardinal...Read More"},{"id":"56","created":"02/11/2013 3:43 PM EST","title":"Papal Resignation Explainer","tweet_link":"56_papal-resignation-explainer","entry_text":"

Slate's L.A. Anderson answers FAQ about Pope Benedict's resignation:

Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world today by announcing his resignation from the papacy, effective Feb. 28. He will be the first pope to step down since Gregory XII in 1415. His resignation raises several questions that the Explainer will endeavor to answer—even though the near-unprecedented nature of Benedict’s decision means that in several cases, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Should I still call him Benedict XVI, or does he go back to being Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger?

We don’t know yet what name he’ll go by. Pope Gregory XII (born Angelo Correr) continued to be known as Gregory until his death in 1417.

We also don’t know whether Benedict will become a cardinal again. He won’t automatically revert to being cardinal—he would have to be reappointed cardinal by his successor. There is some precedent for this to happen; Pope Gregory XII was appointed cardinal upon his abdication.

Benedict will definitely remain a bishop until his death, since becoming a bishop is a sacrament, and even bishops who are removed from office aren’t stripped of that title.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

Slate's L.A. Anderson answers FAQ about Pope Benedict's resignation:

Read More"},{"id":"55","created":"02/11/2013 3:34 PM EST","title":"An Evangelical Looks At Pope Benedict XVI","tweet_link":"55_an-evangelical-looks-at-pope-benedict-xvi","entry_text":"

Russell Moore, Dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, offers his take on Pope Benedict's abdication:

With Pope Benedict XVI’s shocking resignation this morning, Evangelical Christians might be tempted to see this the way a college football fan might view the departure of his rival team’s head coach. But the global stakes are much, much higher. As Pope Benedict steps down, I think it’s important for us to recognize the legacy of the last two bishops of Rome that we ought to honor and conserve: an emphasis on human dignity.

As a Baptist Christian, I disagree with Rome on many things, of course, and some of those things relate to the nature of the Petrine ministry, the relationship of the Bishop of Rome to the rest of the church, the merging of civil and ecclesial power, and so on. It might surprise previous generations of Protestants that one of the primary emphases of the Vatican in the last generation has been on the dignity and liberty of the human person.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

Russell Moore, Dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, offers his take on Pope Benedict's abdication:

With Pope Benedict XVI’s shocking resignation this morning, Evangelical Christians might be tempted to see this the way a c...Read More"},{"id":"54","created":"02/11/2013 3:26 PM EST","title":"Fr. James Martin Reacts","tweet_link":"54_fr-james-martin-reacts","entry_text":"

\"JamesMartinSJ\"

@ JamesMartinSJ :

Pope Benedict XVI's resignation shows great spiritual freedom. Rare is the person who can or will relinquish such immense power today. #Pope

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ JamesMartinSJ :\r\nPope Benedict XVI's resignation shows great spiritual freedom. Rare is the person who can or will reli...Read More"},{"id":"53","created":"02/11/2013 3:23 PM EST","title":"Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, On Pope Benedict's Resignation","tweet_link":"53_cardinal-wuerl-archbishop-of-washington-on-pope-benedicts-resignation","entry_text":"

","short_text":"

"},{"id":"52","created":"02/11/2013 3:09 PM EST","title":"Statement by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi ","tweet_link":"52_statement-by-democratic-leader-nancy-pelosi-","entry_text":"

“Pope Benedict XVI has been a great spiritual leader. Before His Holiness’ triumphant visit to the United States, he stated that the ‘world has greater need of hope than ever: hope for peace, for justice, and for freedom.’ That was his message to America; that has been his message to the world.

“As a public official, I will be forever grateful to Pope Benedict for his powerful Encyclical, ‘God Is Love,’ where he wrote of the urgency for public servants and government to promote justice.

“Although Pope Benedict XVI is stepping aside, the world will continue to be inspired by His Holiness’ spirituality, leadership, and vision for the future. We all thank him for his legacy of concern for children and wish him well.”

","short_text":"

“Pope Benedict XVI has been a great spiritual leader. Before His Holiness’ triumphant visit to the United States, he stated that the ‘world has greater need of hope than ever: hope for peace, for justice, and for freedom.’ That was his messag...Read More"},{"id":"51","created":"02/11/2013 3:05 PM EST","title":"Sex Abuse Victims Welcome Pope's Resignation","tweet_link":"51_sex-abuse-victims-welcome-popes-resignation","entry_text":"

Agence France Presse reports:

An Australian group representing the victims of sexual abuse has welcomed Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, saying he had done little to stop \"the reign of terror of child rapist priests,\" a report said.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement calling for the next pontiff to be more cooperative with inquiries into abuse claims.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

Agence France Presse reports:

An Australian group representing the victims of sexual abuse has welcomed Pope Benedic...Read More"},{"id":"50","created":"02/11/2013 2:26 PM EST","title":"Statement By Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper And His Wife ","tweet_link":"50_statement-by-canadian-prime-minister-stephen-harper-and-his-wife-","entry_text":"

\"Laureen and I were shocked early this morning to learn that declining health had prompted His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to renounce his office.

“His Holiness has dedicated his life to serving God and his faith. He has been a faithful steward, and will be missed.

“A renowned scholar and theologian, Pope Benedict will always have a special place in the hearts of Canadians. It was during his papacy that two of our own, Saint Brother André Bessette and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha were canonized and Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto was elevated to the College of Cardinals.

“In 2009 my family and I were honoured to have an audience with this deeply spiritual man and to hear his words of faith, hope and charity. Laureen and I join all Canadians in wishing Pope Benedict well in the future.\"

","short_text":"

\"Laureen and I were shocked early this morning to learn that declining health had prompted His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to renounce his office.

“His Holiness has dedicated his life to serving God and his faith. He has been a faithful steward,...Read More"},{"id":"49","created":"02/11/2013 2:17 PM EST","title":"Pope's Brother Knew About Decision Months Ago","tweet_link":"49_popes-brother-knew-about-decision-months-ago","entry_text":"

Washington Post's Michael Birnbaum reports:

Benedict’s decision to step down was made months ago, his brother said Monday.

“He told me months ago,” Georg Ratzinger, 89, who is also a priest, said by telephone from his home in Regensburg, a southern German town close to where he and his brother grew up. “When he told me about it, I was indeed surprised. But I had seen it coming, because of his health, because he kept feeling older and older. You know, in the past, people wouldn’t have gotten that old.”

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

Washington Post's Michael Birnbaum reports:

Read More"},{"id":"48","created":"02/11/2013 2:05 PM EST","title":"Italian Journalist Who Speaks Latin First To Break The News Of Pope's Resignation","tweet_link":"48_italian-journalist-who-speaks-latin-first-to-break-the-news-of-popes-resignation","entry_text":"

HuffPost Italy reports:

“I gave the news, then I started crying.\"

Giovanna Chirri, who covers the Vatican for Italy’s ANSA news agency and is the editor of a lay people’s newspaper, immediately understood what was happening. When Pope Benedict XVI started whispering his farewell speech in Latin, “my brain short-circuited: I thought it was absurd,\" Chirri said. \"I knew, just like everybody else, what he’d written in his book. But I was convinced he would never quit.”

A journalist who has covered Vatican affairs since 1994, Chirri was able to break the news under pressure. “As a person, I was really, really sorry. I admire Ratzinger. I respect him,\" she said. \"I knew the importance of the news: I tried to contact the agency, to get the information verified, even though I didn’t doubt my Latin, then they took care of breaking the news. That's how I communicated the information.”

Continue reading here.

-- Giacomo Talignani

","short_text":"

HuffPost Italy reports:

“I gave the news, then I started crying.\"

Giovanna Chirri, who covers the Vatican fo...Read More"},{"id":"47","created":"02/11/2013 1:50 PM EST","title":"Pope Benedict's MySpace Playlist","tweet_link":"47_pope-benedicts-myspace-playlist","entry_text":"

It was announced Monday that Pope Benedict XVI will be resigning on Feb. 28, citing health concerns for his need to step down. In looking back at his career as Pope, Buzzfeed dug up a 2009 Myspace playlist that the Vatican publicized as music from the Holy See.

The playlist was a part of a series of celebrity playlists, put together for the launch of Myspace's UK site. Most of the playlist features expected tracks such as Mozart's \"Don Giovanni,\" but things get interesting with the inclusion of Tupac's \"Changes,\" and Muse's \"Uprising.\" The Vatican explained the choices at the time as “A perfect mix of classical, world and contemporary music. The genres are very different form each other, but all these artists share the aim to reach the heart of good minded people.”

More here.

-- Madeline Boardman

","short_text":"

It was announced Monday that Pope Benedict XVI will be resigning on Feb. 28, citing health concerns for his need to step down. In looking back at his career as Pope, Read More"},{"id":"46","created":"02/11/2013 1:46 PM EST","title":"Rick Santorum On Pope Benedict's Resignation","tweet_link":"46_rick-santorum-on-pope-benedicts-resignation","entry_text":"

Verona, PA - Former Republican Presidential candidate and Patriot Voices Chairman Rick Santorum issued the following statement regarding Pope Benedict XVI's resignation:

\"The news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation comes as quite a surprise to Karen and me. We respect his decision and see it as an example of his great humility, spiritual leadership, and commitment to his faith. We pray for the Church, St. Peter and all the Saints, for the Church's leadership, and for the faithful for the work they will do in the coming weeks to elect a new Pope. May God bless and keep Pope Benedict XVI.\"

-- Ethan Klapper

","short_text":"

Verona, PA - Former Republican Presidential candidate and Patriot Voices Chairman Rick Santorum issued the following statement regarding Pope Benedict XVI's resignation:

\"The news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation comes as quite a surprise to Ka...Read More"},{"id":"45","created":"02/11/2013 1:43 PM EST","title":"Health Experts Laud Vatican's Decision To Step Down","tweet_link":"45_health-experts-laud-vaticans-decision-to-step-down","entry_text":"

From USA Today's Janice Lloyd:

Health experts on aging admired Pope Benedict XVI 's decision to resign Monday, citing visible clues about his declining health and respecting his honesty about an inability to fulfill responsibilities as he grows older.

More here.

","short_text":"

From USA Today's Janice Lloyd:

Health experts on aging admired Pope Benedict XVI 's decision to resign Monday, citing vis...Read More"},{"id":"44","created":"02/11/2013 1:41 PM EST","title":"Bookmarker Releases Next Pope Odds","tweet_link":"44_bookmarker-releases-next-pope-odds","entry_text":"

From Agence France Presse:

Francis Arinze of Nigeria, Peter Turkson of Ghana and Marc Ouellet of Canada were among the cardinals hotly tipped by bookmakers on Monday to take over from Pope Benedict XVI.

William Hill bookmakers named 80-year-old Arinze as their favourite to replace the pontiff following Monday's shock announcement of the pontiff's resignation with odds of 2-1, followed by Turkson at 5-2.

Coral also tipped Arinze as the likeliest successor with odds of 7-4, followed by Turkson at 2-1 and Ouellet in third place at 5-1.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

From Agence France Presse:

Francis Arinze of Nigeria, Peter Turkson of Ghana and Marc Ouellet of ...Read More"},{"id":"43","created":"02/11/2013 1:23 PM EST","title":"Pope Benedict's Legacy Haunted By Vatican Financial Scandal","tweet_link":"43_pope-benedicts-legacy-haunted-by-vatican-financial-scandal","entry_text":"

The race is on to determine the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI, the 85-year-old who surprised the world by announcing his resignation Monday. But there's one chapter of his reign that the Vatican surely hopes will disappear from memory sooner rather than later.

In May 2012, the Pope's butler was arrested for leaking documents that included allegations of financial corruption and claims of infighting over complying with international money-laundering rules, according to NPR.

News of the scandal came as the Pope was trying to better the Vatican's decades-long reputation for financial corruption, yet his efforts weren't enough. In 2010, Italian prosecutors took custody of 23 million Euros belonging to the Vatican after they became suspicious of potential money-laundering, according to Bloomberg.

More here.

-- Jillian Berman

","short_text":"

The race is on to determine the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI, the 85-year-old who surprised the world by announcing his resignation Monday. But there's one chapter of his reign that the Vatican surely hopes will disappear from memory sooner rather than ...Read More"},{"id":"42","created":"02/11/2013 1:17 PM EST","title":"Italian Journalist 'Knew The Pope Would Resign' For More Than A Year ","tweet_link":"42_italian-journalist-knew-the-pope-would-resign-for-more-than-a-year-","entry_text":"

HuffPost Italy's Stefano Baldolini reports:

Antonio Socci foresaw Pope Benedict XVI's resignation back in 2011, and he said Monday he feels \"extremely sad, together the rest of 'Ratzinger’s people.'\"

\"I had hoped the facts would prove me wrong,\" Socci, a noted Catholic journalist and author of the blog Lo straniero, told The Huffington Post in an interview.

What signs led you to suspect Pope Benedict XVI might resign?

On September 25, 2011, I heard the news from several different sources,independent from each other. When he analytically considered the possibility of his resignation in his book interview with Peter Seevald, he explained that it would not have been comprehensible while the Church was in the middle of a storm. A month later, Vatileaks exploded.

He probably didn’t feel it was right to quit then. It would have seemed like he was running away. His decision to quit was put on hold. Then, a month ago, his butler Gabriele was pardoned.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

HuffPost Italy's Stefano Baldolini reports:

Antonio Socci foresaw Pope Benedict XVI's resignation back in 2011, and he said Monday he...Read More"},{"id":"41","created":"02/11/2013 1:13 PM EST","title":"Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti: Pope Benedict XVI Truly A Great Personality","tweet_link":"41_italian-prime-minister-mario-monti-pope-benedict-xvi-truly-a-great-personality","entry_text":"

The Pope’s decision “was totally unexpected in all its seriousness and implications,” said the Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. “I think the Pope,\" said Monti \"intended to serve the Church until the end and also be sure that in the future it will have a solid lead.\" Monti recalled his personal dialogue with the Pope, who wanted to accompany the creation of his government after Silvio Berlusconi’s resignation. “In the future I also hope,\" concluded Monti \"to be able to continue these exchanges, which for me were so rich in intellectual and moral teachings.\" Monti then called Benedict XVI \"truly a great personality in Europe and all over the world”.

-- Giulia Belardelli

","short_text":"

The Pope’s decision “was totally unexpected in all its seriousness and implications,” said the Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. “I think the Pope,\" said Monti \"intended to serve the Church until the end and also be sure that in the future it...Read More"},{"id":"40","created":"02/11/2013 1:11 PM EST","title":"John Paul II's Secretrary Denies Comparison With John Paul II","tweet_link":"40_john-paul-iis-secretrary-denies-comparison-with-john-paul-ii","entry_text":"

Following up on previous comment, the cardinal of Krakow, Stanislaw Dziwisz, denies any comparison with John Paul II. “Karol Wojtyla and Joseph Ratzinger,\" Dziwisz said, as reported by Vatican Radio, \"were great friends. Each had his own charisma. Pope John Paul II opened the Church to the world, Pope Benedict XVI has deepened the faith and Christian roots. Their papacies have been complementary.\" Dziwisz, who was the personal secretary of Pope John Paul II, also said that “Benedict XVI has been a great Pope. I send him all my gratitude, respect and love.\"

-- Giulia Belardelli

","short_text":"

Following up on previous comment, the cardinal of Krakow, Stanislaw Dziwisz, denies any comparison with John Paul II. “Karol Wojtyla and Joseph Ratzinger,\" Dziwisz said, as reported by Vatican Radi...Read More"},{"id":"39","created":"02/11/2013 1:06 PM EST","title":"Stephen Colbert for Pope","tweet_link":"39_stephen-colbert-for-pope","entry_text":"

James Heffernan writes in a blog post:

No man of our time resembles Saint Stephen more than Stephen Colbert, a staunch Roman Catholic with a devoted following of young people deeply inspired by his eloquent advocacy of strictly conservative values and Christian faith.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

James Heffernan writes in a blog post:

No man of our time resembles Saint Stephen more than Stephen Colbert, a staunc...Read More"},{"id":"38","created":"02/11/2013 1:03 PM EST","title":"A Woman's Defense of Pope Benedict XVI","tweet_link":"38_a-womans-defense-of-pope-benedict-xvi","entry_text":"

Helen Alvare, Professor of Law at George Mason University writes:

It is perhaps small-minded and selfish to say that, as a professor, I will miss Pope Benedict XVI's intellect. As a woman, I will miss his tremendous attention to the questions concerning women, and concerning women and men together. As a family law scholar, I will miss his regular reflections upon human sexuality and marriage and the family. And as a Catholic who serves the Church regularly, and has grown up steeped in its theology, its rituals and its diverse international expressions, I will miss him like a father.

Small-minded and selfish, perhaps. But all true. And perhaps all in need of being said.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

Helen Alvare, Professor of Law at George Mason University writes:

It is perhaps small-minded and selfish to say that, as a professor, I will miss Pope Benedict XVI's intellect. As a woman, I will miss his tremendous attention to the ...Read More"},{"id":"37","created":"02/11/2013 12:50 PM EST","title":"Obama Extends 'Appreciation And Prayers' To Pope Benedict XVI After Resignation Announcement","tweet_link":"37_obama-extends-appreciation-and-prayers-to-pope-benedict-xvi-after-resignation-announcement","entry_text":"

President Barack Obama addressed the surprise resignation announcement of Pope Benedict XVI on Monday.

\"On behalf of Americans everywhere, Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,\" Obama said in a statement. \"Michelle and I warmly remember our meeting with the Holy Father in 2009, and I have appreciated our work together over these last four years. The Church plays a critical role in the United States and the world, and I wish the best to those who will soon gather to choose His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.\"

The Associated Press relays the background on the pope's decision:

Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would resign on Feb. 28 because he was simply too infirm to carry on — the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.

The president and first lady met with the pope at the Vatican City in 2009. During their meeting, the pope reportedly reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion and stem cell research to Obama and discussed a variety of other topics.

-- Nick Wing

","short_text":"

President Barack Obama addressed the surprise resignation announcement of Pope Benedict XVI on Monday.

\"On behalf of Americans everyw...Read More"},{"id":"36","created":"02/11/2013 12:33 PM EST","title":"The Pope's Legacy","tweet_link":"36_the-popes-legacy","entry_text":"

Fr. James Martin, SJ, contributing editor at America writes:

The Holy Father’s resignation is a selfless and noble act done for the good of the church that he has loved and served for decades. The resignation, announced this morning and set to take effect on Feb. 25, while surprising to almost everyone, is not completely unprecedented. Several popes have resigned, including Gregory XII in the 12th century, in the midst of the Western schism; and, most famously, Celestine V who was literally consigned to hell in Dante’s Inferno for his resignation in 1294. More recently, there had been speculation around the time of Blessed John Paul’s declining health as a result of his Parkinson’s disease, but John Paul opted to continue in his job, providing a sign of human suffering for all to witness. The pope is old and sick, John Paul would say frequently, but his suffering is part of the human condition. For me, it was a moving testimony to John Paul’s desire to serve even during a time of struggles.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

Fr. James Martin, SJ, contributing editor at America writes:

The Holy Father’s resignation is a selfless and noble act done for the good of the church that he has loved and served for decades. The resignation, announced t...Read More"},{"id":"35","created":"02/11/2013 12:28 PM EST","title":"A Papacy Dogged By Scandal","tweet_link":"35_a-papacy-dogged-by-scandal","entry_text":"

From Reuters:

Pope Benedict was cheered by conservatives for trying to reaffirm traditional Catholic identity but liberals accused him of turning back the clock on reforms and hurting dialogue with Muslims, Jews and other Christians.

","short_text":"

From Reuters:

Pope Benedict was cheered by conservatives for trying to reaffir...Read More"},{"id":"33","created":"02/11/2013 12:14 PM EST","title":"How Young Could The Next Pope Be? ","tweet_link":"33_how-young-could-the-next-pope-be-","entry_text":"

\"danmericaCNN\"

@ danmericaCNN :

Some are asking for a younger pope. The youngest member of the College of Cardinals is Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal of India at 53.

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ danmericaCNN :\r\nSome are asking for a younger pope. The youngest member of the College of Cardinals is Baselios Cleemis T...Read More"},{"id":"32","created":"02/11/2013 12:07 PM EST","title":"L'Osservatore Romano: Pope Decided One Year Ago","tweet_link":"32_losservatore-romano-pope-decided-one-year-ago","entry_text":"

The Pope decided to resign “many months ago, after the trip to Mexico and Cuba, in a discretion which no one has been able to break,\" editor-in-chief of L'Osservatore Romano (the semi-official newspaper of the Holy See) wrote in a front page editorial \"The Future of God.\" The Pope's visit to Cuba and Mexico took place less than a year ago: 23-29th Mar. 2012.

-- Giulia Belardelli

","short_text":"

The Pope decided to resign “many months ago, after the trip to Mexico and Cuba, in a discretion which no one has been able to break,\" editor-in-chief of L'Osservator...Read More"},{"id":"31","created":"02/11/2013 11:58 AM EST","title":"The Orphans Pope Benedict Leaves Behind","tweet_link":"31_the-orphans-pope-benedict-leaves-behind","entry_text":"

Massimo Faggiolo, professor of history of Christianity, writes in a blog post:

Pope Benedict XVI resigned, an unprecedented event in modern papal history. It's not clear if his move will set a precedent, contrary to the few papal resignations that occurred during the Medieval period.

The Church is not a dictatorship in which the pope is a sovereign acting in an \"exceptional state\": Canon 332 of the canonical code of rights provides for this possibility. But there's another way to interpret his resignation, one suggested by the formula Benedict XVI used to explain his decision: ingravescentem aetatem. This Latin formula is used not only to explain the weight of years, but echoes word for word the personal motto of Pope Paul VI, the Ingravescentem aetatem, which in 1970 introduced a 75-year-old age limit for cardinals joining the Roman Curia (and 80 for those entering the conclave to elect a new pope), after a document from the second Vatican council had introduced a 75-year-old age limit for Diocesan bishops in 1965.

Continue reading here.

","short_text":"

Massimo Faggiolo, professor of history of Christianity, writes in a blog post:

Pope Benedict XVI resigned, an unprecedented event in modern papal history. It's not clear if his move will set a precedent, contrary to the few papal res...Read More"},{"id":"30","created":"02/11/2013 11:50 AM EST","title":"E.J. Dionne: Pope Benedict's Legacy Is One Of Paradox","tweet_link":"30_ej-dionne-pope-benedicts-legacy-is-one-of-paradox","entry_text":"

Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation is in character in several ways. As an institutionalist who believes in the Roman Catholic Church as the carrier of truth in a sinful world, he would worry a great deal about the impact of his own infirmities on the institution’s capacity to thrive.

He is a traditionalist who was nonetheless greatly affected by modernity. He would therefore not be troubled that he had to reach back very far to find a precedent for papal resignation. He knows that a pope hobbled by sickness and weakness would be a very bad symbol in a media age.

More here.

","short_text":"

Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation is in character in several ways. As an institutionalist who believes in the Roman Catholic Church as the carrier of truth in a sinful world, he would worry a great deal about the impact of his own infirmiti...Read More"},{"id":"29","created":"02/11/2013 11:46 AM EST","title":"President of the European Council Reacts","tweet_link":"29_president-of-the-european-council-reacts","entry_text":"

\"euHvR\"

@ euHvR :

I deeply respect the decision of Pope Benedict XVI: http://t.co/jHxrkfq8 @Pontifex

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ euHvR :\r\nI deeply respect the decision of Pope Benedict XVI: http://t.co/jHxrkfq8 Read More"},{"id":"28","created":"02/11/2013 11:44 AM EST","title":"Disbelief and Amazement at St. Peter's Square","tweet_link":"28_disbelief-and-amazement-at-st-peters-square","entry_text":"

Disbelief and amazement: these are the moods prevailing in St. Peter among the pilgrims who continue to arrive in St. Peter Plaza from all over the world.

“Did the Pope really resigned?” “Not possible!” are the prevalent comments.

What was supposed to be a normal visit to the Vatican, ended up as an appointment with history. All were taken by surprise by the historic announcement made by the Pope. Giorgio, a student from Milan expressed his astonishment. He said: \"Ratzinger had a great desire to clean up inside the Church. But the weight of age was too much for him.\"

A senior foreign priest at St. Peter's Square added: \"This was an unexpected decision, but this Pope has faced so many scandals.\"

The comments that followed the news have all roughly been the same. But someone in St. Peter's Square hazarded another hypothesis: \"Who knows if the suffering images of the last days of John Paul II's pontificate were unbearable for this Pope….\"

-- Giulia Belardelli

","short_text":"

Disbelief and amazement: these are the moods prevailing in St. Peter among the pilgrims who continue to arrive in St. Peter Plaza from all over the world.

“Did the Pope really resigned?” “Not possible!” are the prevalent comments.

Read More"},{"id":"27","created":"02/11/2013 11:37 AM EST","title":"Who Is Likely To Succeed Pope Benedict XVI?","tweet_link":"27_who-is-likely-to-succeed-pope-benedict-xvi","entry_text":"

From L'Huffington Post

Who are the cardinals who will likely succeed Benedict XVI? According to the (very well informed) website Vatican Insider, the most likely candidates are the Austrian Christoph Schoenborn, Archbishop of Vienna, the Italian Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan, the Philippine Luis Antonio Tagle, the American Timothy Dolan, the Brazilian-born German Odilo Pedro Scherer. French Canadian Marc Ouellet, Italian Gianfranco Ravasi, Argentinian Leonardo Sandri, Frenchman Jean-Louis Tauran and Kodwo Peter Appiah Turkson from Ghana also have their chances. According to bookmakers, however, Francis Arinze from Nigeria is the most qualified.

117 cardinals will elect the new Pope in March. At this time, 118 cardinals are less than 80-years-old, but Ukrainian Husar will pass the threshold on Feb. 26, and will therefore remain outside the Sistine Chapel. Angelo Sodano and Roger Etchegaray, doyens of the cardinal college will not participate to the conclave either. The election system \"for acclamationem seu inspirationem and compromissum\" has been abolished. The Roman Pontiff will be elected “solely by ballot,\" as was decided by John Paul II in the apostolic constitution \"Universi Dominici Gregis\" that profoundly changed the process to elect the Pope.

The document established, for example, that \"a valid election requires two-thirds of the votes, calculated based on all the electors present.\" In the event that \"the number of cardinals present can not be divided into three equal parts, for the election of the Supreme Pontiff to be valid, one more suffrage is required.\" The election is to begin immediately after all the requirements are fulfilled \"in case this happens in the afternoon of the first day, there will be only one ballot.\" In the following days, then, \"if the first ballot is not enough, two voting sessions should be held, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, the voting times should be previously established in preparatory congregations or during the period of the elections.\"

","short_text":"

From L'Huffington Post

Who are the cardinals who will likely suc...Read More"},{"id":"26","created":"02/11/2013 11:13 AM EST","title":"Christian World Shocked At Pope Benedict's Resignation","tweet_link":"26_christian-world-shocked-at-pope-benedicts-resignation","entry_text":"

From the AP:

KRAKOW, Poland -- Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign due to his frailty was met with shock, surprise and disbelief from staunchly Catholic Poland to London's Westminster Abbey.

Warsaw Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz expressed surprise at the decision, but said it was dictated by the sense of responsibility for the leadership of the Church, which Benedict has held since 2005.

In London, many worshippers entering Westminster Cathedral for a regularly scheduled mass had yet to hear about the pope's resignation.

\"I didn't realize his health was that bad,\" said Charlie Sweeney. \"He's carried an enormous responsibility on his shoulders and the crisis one after another hasn't really helped.\"

","short_text":"

From the AP:

KRAKOW, Poland -- Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign due to his frailty was met ...Read More"},{"id":"25","created":"02/11/2013 11:10 AM EST","title":"President of the Italian Republic Comments ","tweet_link":"25_president-of-the-italian-republic-comments-","entry_text":"

“In our last meeting, I noticed that the Pope was tired and conscious about a fatigue that was hard to sustain.” With these words this morning the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, has made it clear how Benedict XVI -- already a week ago, during their last meeting at the Vatican –- did not hide his decision to leave the papacy.

The meeting was held on Feb. 4, just before a concert for the 84th anniversary of the Lateran Pacts. The German Pope had a very “intense conversation” with the President. Immediately after the meeting, President Napolitano seemed very moved and touched. (ANSA)

-- Giulia Belardelli

","short_text":"

“In our last meeting, I noticed that the Pope was tired and conscious about a fatigue that was hard to sustain.” With these words this morning the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, has made it clear how Benedict XVI -- already ...Read More"},{"id":"24","created":"02/11/2013 11:08 AM EST","title":"Vatican: Benedict XVI Too Weary To Remain Pope","tweet_link":"24_vatican-benedict-xvi-too-weary-to-remain-pope","entry_text":"

From the AP:

The Vatican stressed on Monday that no specific medical condition prompted Benedict's decision to become the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. Still, Benedict said his advanced age means he no longer has the necessary mental and physical strength to lead the world's more than one billion Roman Catholics.

More here.

","short_text":"

From the AP:

The Vatican stressed on Monday that no specific medical condition prompted Benedict's decision to become the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. Still, Benedict said his advanced age means he no longer has the necessary...Read More"},{"id":"23","created":"02/11/2013 11:04 AM EST","title":"Pope John Paul II's Secretary Criticizes Pope Benedict's Resignation","tweet_link":"23_pope-john-paul-iis-secretary-criticizes-pope-benedicts-resignation","entry_text":"

While almost everybody is expressing solidarity and admiration towards the Pope, from Krakow there is also some \"veiled criticism.\"

“Pope John Paul II decided to stay on the papal throne until the end of his life because he felt that it is not right to come down from the cross,” said the cardinal of Krakow, Stanislaw Dziwisz, the personal secretary of Pope John Paul II.

“I understand the motivations of the Pope Benedict XVI, who led the Church with great wisdom and thoughtfulness,” added Dziwisz during a press conference about the Pope's decision to leave the papacy. Dziwisz also thanked the Pope for his efforts to renew the life of the Church and expressed his gratitude for the special relationship reserved by Pope Ratzinger to the Polish people.

-- Giulia Belardelli

","short_text":"

While almost everybody is expressing solidarity and admiration towards the Pope, from Krakow there is also some \"Read More"},{"id":"22","created":"02/11/2013 10:52 AM EST","title":"African As The Next Pope? Wouldn't be the first time.. ","tweet_link":"22_african-as-the-next-pope-wouldnt-be-the-first-time-","entry_text":"

\"danmericaCNN\"

@ danmericaCNN :

Has there ever been an African Pope? Yes. Pope Gelasius I, who led the church from 492 to 496, was born in Roman North Africa.

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ danmericaCNN :\r\nHas there ever been an African Pope? Yes. Pope Gelasius I, who led the church from 492 to 496, was born i...Read More"},{"id":"21","created":"02/11/2013 10:45 AM EST","title":"Speaker Boehner Reacts","tweet_link":"21_speaker-boehner-reacts","entry_text":"

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement regarding the decision announced today by Pope Benedict XVI:

\"The prayers and gratitude of American Catholics are with Pope Benedict XVI today. he Holy Father's decision displays extraordinary humility and love for the Church, two things that have been the hallmarks of his service. Americans were inspired by his visit to the United States in 2008, and by his quiet, steady leadership of the Church in uncertain times. People of all nations have been blessed by the sacrifices he has made to sow the seeds of hope, justice, and compassion throughout the world in the name of Our Lord and Savior.\"

","short_text":"

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement regarding the decision announced today by Pope Benedict XVI:

\"The prayers and gratitude of American Catholics are with Pope Benedict XVI today. he Holy Father's ...Read More"},{"id":"20","created":"02/11/2013 10:43 AM EST","title":"Christian World Shocked At Pope Benedict's Resignation","tweet_link":"20_christian-world-shocked-at-pope-benedicts-resignation","entry_text":"

From the AP:

KRAKOW, Poland -- Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign due to his frailty was met with shock, surprise and disbelief from staunchly Catholic Poland to London's Westminster Abbey.

Warsaw Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz expressed surprise at the decision, but said it was dictated by the sense of responsibility for the leadership of the Church, which Benedict has held since 2005.

In London, many worshippers entering Westminster Cathedral for a regularly scheduled mass had yet to hear about the pope's resignation.

\"I didn't realize his health was that bad,\" said Charlie Sweeney. \"He's carried an enormous responsibility on his shoulders and the crisis one after another hasn't really helped.\"

","short_text":"

From the AP:

KRAKOW, Poland -- Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign due to his frailty was met ...Read More"},{"id":"19","created":"02/11/2013 10:33 AM EST","title":"Detroit Archbishop Responds to Pope Benedict's Resignation","tweet_link":"19_detroit-archbishop-responds-to-pope-benedicts-resignation","entry_text":"

After the Vatican announced Monday that Pope Benedict XVI would resign on Feb. 28, Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron shared his surprise over the news.

\"Quickly after the surprise followed sadness, a sense of grief at losing his fatherly care for all us, bishops, clergy, and faithful,\" Vigneron said in a statement. \"Most of us know in our own personal lives what it means to see a parent grow old and decline in ability. That is the sense we bring to this announcement. Our spiritual father has determined, by the best light given to him in prayer, that for the good of us all he must lay down his office.\"

More here.

","short_text":"

After the Vatican announced Monday that Pope Benedict XVI would resign on Feb. 28, Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron shared his surprise over the news.

\"Quickly after the surprise followed sadness, a sense of grief at losing his fatherly care ...Read More"},{"id":"18","created":"02/11/2013 10:27 AM EST","title":"Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Reacts","tweet_link":"18_albert-mohler-president-of-southern-baptist-theological-seminary-reacts","entry_text":"

\"albertmohler\"

@ albertmohler :

Pope Benedict has offered a brave and intelligent defense of truth against a relativist tide, and he has been a stalwart friend of life.

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ albertmohler :\r\nPope Benedict has offered a brave and intelligent defense of truth against a relativist tide, and he has ...Read More"},{"id":"17","created":"02/11/2013 10:13 AM EST","title":"Merkel: Pope Benedict XVI 'One Of The Most Important Religious Thinkers Of Our Time' ","tweet_link":"17_merkel-pope-benedict-xvi-one-of-the-most-important-religious-thinkers-of-our-time-","entry_text":"

From the AP:

BERLIN -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday she had the \"very highest respect\" for German-born Pope Benedict XVI's decision to step down – a move that the pontiff's brother said he had been considering for months amid ailing health.

Georg Ratzinger, 89, told the dpa news agency at his home in Regensburg that his brother had been advised by his doctor not to take any more transatlantic trips and was having increasing difficulty walking.

\"His age is weighing on him,\" Ratzinger said of his 85-year-old brother, Pope Benedict XVI who announced earlier in the day he would resign Feb. 28. \"At this age my brother wants more rest.\"

More here.

","short_text":"

From the AP:

BERLIN -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday she had the \"very highest respect\" for German-born Pope Benedict XVI's decision to step down – a move that the pontiff's brother said he had been considering for mon...Read More"},{"id":"16","created":"02/11/2013 10:07 AM EST","title":"Electing A New Pope: Conclave, Oath, Chimney Smoke ","tweet_link":"16_electing-a-new-pope-conclave-oath-chimney-smoke-","entry_text":"

From the AP:

Pope Benedict XVI's resignation sets in motion a complex sequence of events to elect the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The laws governing the selection are the same as those in force after a papal death. Here is the procedure:

The Vatican summons a conclave of cardinals that must begin 15-20 days after Benedict's Feb. 28 resignation.

Cardinals eligible to vote – those under age 80 – are sequestered within Vatican City and take an oath of secrecy.

More here.

","short_text":"

From the AP:

Pope Benedict XVI's resignation sets in motion a complex sequence of events to elect the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The laws governing the selection are the same as those in force after a papal death. Here ...Read More"},{"id":"15","created":"02/11/2013 10:02 AM EST","title":"Canadian Cardinal A Frontrunner To Replace Benedict","tweet_link":"15_canadian-cardinal-a-frontrunner-to-replace-benedict","entry_text":"

Quebec cardinal Marc Oulette is considered one of the front-runners to replace Pope Benedict. UK gambling site Paddypower.com is giving 5/2 odds that the North American cardinal will replace German-born Benedict. Other potential replacements include a cardinal from Ghana and Nigeria and one from Argentina.

","short_text":"

Quebec cardinal Marc Oulette is considered one of the front-runners to replace Pope Benedict. UK gambling site Paddypower.com is giving 5/2 odds t...Read More"},{"id":"14","created":"02/11/2013 10:01 AM EST","title":"Cardinal Dolan Responds To Pope Benedict's Resignation","tweet_link":"14_cardinal-dolan-responds-to-pope-benedicts-resignation","entry_text":"

New York Cardinal Dolan Responds To Pope's Resignation

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan says he was as startled as the rest of the world about Pope Benedict XVI's announcement that he will resign later this month due to failing health.

Dolan says he feels a special bond with the pope because he was the one that appointed him archbishop of New York.

More here.

","short_text":"

New York Cardinal Dolan Responds To Pope's Resignation

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan says he was as startl...Read More"},{"id":"13","created":"02/11/2013 9:57 AM EST","title":"Previous Popes Who Have Quit","tweet_link":"13_previous-popes-who-have-quit","entry_text":"

From the AP:

The Vatican announced Monday that Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down on Feb. 28. While such papal resignations are extremely rare, there are precedents in the two millennia history of the Catholic Church.

Marcellinus: This early church pope abdicated or was deposed in 304 after complying with the Roman emperor's order to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods.

Benedict IX: Sold the papacy to his godfather Gregory VI and resigned in 1045.

Celestine V: Overwhelmed by the demands of the office, this hermetic pontiff stepped down after five months as pope in 1294. Pope Benedict XVI prayed at his tomb in the central Italian city of L'Aquila in 2009.

Gregory XII: The last pope to resign, Gregory XII stepped down in 1415 to help end a church schism.

","short_text":"

From the AP:

The Vatican announced Monday that Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down on Feb. 28. While such papal resign...Read More"},{"id":"12","created":"02/11/2013 9:23 AM EST","title":"'By Easter We Should Have New Pope'","tweet_link":"12_by-easter-we-should-have-new-pope","entry_text":"

\"By Easter we should have the new Pope\", says the Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, explaining to the press what happens after the decision of the Pope. The vacant seat will start from March 1, the experience makes us predict that the election process would take 15-20

days; then in March - by Easter - we should have the new Pope\".

","short_text":"

\"By Easter we should have the new Pope\", says the Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, explaining to the press what happens after the decision of the Pope. The vacant seat will start from March 1, the experience makes us predict that the election proc...Read More"},{"id":"11","created":"02/11/2013 9:12 AM EST","title":"Father Jim Martin: Pope's Resignation 'Selfless and Noble'","tweet_link":"11_father-jim-martin-popes-resignation-selfless-and-noble","entry_text":"

\"JamesMartinSJ\"

@ JamesMartinSJ :

The Holy Father's resignation is a selfless and noble act done for the good of the Church he has loved and served for his entire life. #pope

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ JamesMartinSJ :\r\nThe Holy Father's resignation is a selfless and noble act done for the good of the Church he has loved...Read More"},{"id":"10","created":"02/11/2013 9:09 AM EST","title":"7 Scandals That Have Rocked Pope Benedict's Papacy ","tweet_link":"10_7-scandals-that-have-rocked-pope-benedicts-papacy-","entry_text":"

From child sex abuse scandals to the \"Vatileaks\" controversy involving his former butler, HuffPost UK created a list of the seven biggest controversies of during the Pope's time in the Vatican.

Find them here:

","short_text":"

From child sex abuse scandals to the \"Vatileaks\" controversy involving his former butler, HuffPost UK created a list of the seven biggest controversies of during the Pope's time in the Vatican.
\nRead More"},{"id":"9","created":"02/11/2013 8:58 AM EST","title":"Catholic Democrats: Pope Was 'Moral Voice For Poor' ","tweet_link":"9_catholic-democrats-pope-was-moral-voice-for-poor-","entry_text":"

\"CatholicDems\"

@ CatholicDems :

Pope Benedict XVI has distinguished himself as a moral voice for the poor at a time when they are often forgotten by elected officials

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ CatholicDems :\r\nPope Benedict XVI has distinguished himself as a moral voice for the poor at a time when they are often f...Read More"},{"id":"8","created":"02/11/2013 8:52 AM EST","title":"Pope Benedict Originally Chosen As Placeholder","tweet_link":"8_pope-benedict-originally-chosen-as-placeholder","entry_text":"

\"sullivanamy\"

@ sullivanamy :

Benedict was elected in 2005, in part as a placeholder pope precisely because of his age. Church needed to figure out next direction.

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ sullivanamy :\r\nBenedict was elected in 2005, in part as a placeholder pope precisely because of his age. Church needed to f...Read More"},{"id":"7","created":"02/11/2013 8:50 AM EST","title":"Pope Reads Resignation Text In Latin ","tweet_link":"7_pope-reads-resignation-text-in-latin-","entry_text":"

","short_text":"

"},{"id":"6","created":"02/11/2013 8:46 AM EST","title":"Father Reese: 'Most Pope's Felt Resignation Is Unacceptable' ","tweet_link":"6_father-reese-most-popes-felt-resignation-is-unacceptable-","entry_text":"

\"nwarikoo\"

@ nwarikoo :

Fr. Thomas Reese of Georgetown University: \"Most modern popes have felt that resignation is unacceptable.\" http://t.co/AibpbVWg #Pope

","short_text":"\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n@ nwarikoo :\r\nFr. Thomas Reese of Georgetown University: \"Most modern popes have felt that resignation is unacceptable.\" Read More"},{"id":"5","created":"02/11/2013 8:41 AM EST","title":"Papal Transition Resource ","tweet_link":"5_papal-transition-resource-","entry_text":"

Father Thomas Reese has a full Q&A about Papal Transition on American Magazine online

","short_text":"

Father Thomas Reese has a full Q&A about Papal Transition on American Magazine online

"}]
Pope Benedict XVI Resigns
Suggest a correction