Pope Benedict XVI Resigning February 28

"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. 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 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.

"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."


  1. matt says

    Ratzinger has named 67 of the 120 cardinals who will vote for his successor, pretty much ensuring that his regressive legacy will continue. Also, by resigning he ensures that he can actively lobby for who will succeed him. This is just more bad news for the Catholic Church. They’ll pick a relatively young, right wing man to cement a long regressive future for the church. The choice may be from a third world country, as this will make the church look progressive and inclusive. But, believe me, that is cosmetic. Joseph Ratzinger wants a regressive successor.

  2. czchu says

    I agree with Matt’s observation. A regressive Catholic Church, or any organised religion for this matter, will only render itself irrelevant. Religion, however mildly dressed, poisons everything, to borrow a phrase from the late Christopher Hitchens.

  3. Nat says

    Immediate speculation:

    a) Some heretofore unknown linkage between the Holy Father and child sex abuse is about to be released, one which would damage the Catholic brand in a way that prior linkages had not.

    b) He’s suffering from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia that would result in his cognitive faculties rapidly declining within the next year.

  4. matt says

    Ratzinger has had a huge influence which extends before and will extend after his papacy. He pretty much ran the vatican during JP 2’s papacy. He wrote large parts of john paul’s encyclicals and steered the church on a regressive path as “the pope’s rotweiller.” Then, as pope, ratzinger courted right wing anglicans and opus dei and made peace with ultra right wing catholics of called lefebrists and legionarries of christ; he also banned celibate gay men from ordination and told africans that condoms don’t help prevent aids. Now, by resigning, he will heavily influence who succeeds him. He is not one pope: he is, effictively, controlling three papacies and has destroyed the promise of vatican II. he’s ruined the church for most caring, thinking catholics. what a shame.

  5. Pope on a Rope says

    WTF? Any fool can ‘suffer’ when he’s strong. It takes REAL strength to suffer when you’re weak. What a pink-panty wearin’ hypocrite ol’ Ratzi turned out to be.

    And who elected Montgomery Burns pope anyway?

  6. Pope Beenadick says

    Reaction: Mild disappointment. Was hoping to see him go out like Quadaffi did, with the business end of a bayonet up his butt. But we must find joy where we can.

  7. JonnyNYNY2FLFL says

    In a divinely inspired coincidence, I just watched HBO’s documentary “Mea Maxiima Culpa” last night (kind of a downer after the Grammy’s). It dealt with the Catholic sex abuse scandal in a school for the deaf. It can be accessed via ON-DEMAND on many cable systems. If you want context for issues that are bound to come up in the next few weeks, it’s well worth viewing.

  8. Jack M says

    NAT is right. Something is going on, either the Pope is leaving because he knows a scandal is about the break, or he has some type of debilitating disease that will render him incapable of performing his duties. I’m guessing the former. For a pope to resign is almost unheard of.

  9. macguffin54 says

    I was also thinking he was leaving as a compromise on something big that he did wrong. And considering all of the wrongs that he has done and not batted an eyelash, it must have been something juicy. Perhaps he was implicated in a sex abuse case himself or got caught with male prostitutes. Considering the last pope didn’t resign despite being 150 years old and seemingly incapable of doing anything I would have to think this guy’s claims of poor health are just a smoke screen.

  10. candideinnc says

    John Paul, Paul John, Maximus the middling, Pius the 202nd — they are all the same: despots in a reactionary religion preaching piety and practicing hypocrisy. We will see another Elmer Gantry at the wheel in a few months.

  11. megamike says

    Among the many things that can be told about this news:* This is proof that the Christians’ god is fallible, as the Pope is supposedly elected by divine inspiration. And since the infallibility of god is the basis of most Christian faith, this basically means that their religion is worthless – and they proved it themselves.

    * This is a huge sign of how Italian politics are changing, and with them the politics of Europe in general. Let me explain: Palpatine will resign four days after the upcoming election, in which all of the former Church-backing parties are expected to finally fail epically after 120 years of stranglehold on the country. This essentially means that the Church will have to begin paying taxes just like everybody else, and that priests are going to be accountable for their actions (and what is that Catholic priests do?) before Italian justice instead of the Vatican’s. No Church influence in the Parliament – or less so – amounts to a HUGE social revolution in many ways, including economically. And when Italy falls (or rises, depending on your side), all the other Church-occupied parliaments follow.

    * Essentially, he is running before it is too late.

  12. kit says

    Blackmail? Pshaw! It’s a coup. A lone blackmailer would have been murdered out of hand. The head of the Catholic Church would not hesitate for two seconds to have a blackmailed killed and fed to the dogs. My guess is that when the person with the damaging info went to Razi with it, Razi said, basically, “Smithers, release the hounds!” and Smithers said, “I’m so very sorry that I can’t comply with your wishes, your Holiness. You see, I’m on HIS side. In fact, we’re ALL on his side.”

  13. Bobby says

    Good riddance to a really evil man.

    We watched MEA MAXIMA CULPA this weekend and Ratzinger is completely guilty of covering up the abuse of those boys and girls who were abused by Catholic Priests.

    Get rid of the entire Papal organization.

  14. BobN says

    “they are all the same”

    No, they’re not. The Vatican is the only remaining monarchy in the developed world in which the “king” has near absolute authority, and it shows. The three-decade lurch to the right was the work of two men, JPII and Benedict. Had JPI lived and served several years instead of just one month, the Catholic Church would be a very, very different organization today.

    The big difference with true monarchies, of course, is that succession isn’t biological and the character of the new regent isn’t left up to the whimsy of genetics and (usually spoiled) up-bringing. The next pope is likely to be very much like the last two.

    But you never know…

  15. Bob R says

    Something is seriously wrong here. I mean, can’t the Pope pray for strength to carry on, or has god forsaken him? There is quite a bit of mystery here, Popes don’t resign. Perhaps like many cheap and tawdry mysteries, in the end we’ll find the butler did it.

  16. Caliban says

    I don’t buy it.

    These old f*ckers don’t leave except in a box, even if they’re non compos mentis, drooling and pooping all over their fancy robes.

    So there’s two options I can think of, and probably many more besides. Maybe there’s a huge scandal he’s trying to get in front of, most likely involving child sex abuse. Not necessarily as a perpetrator, but perhaps a cover-up since he was the guy who handled those cases for several decades. The other option is that he wants to choose the next Pope and his position, and the mythology surrounding it, gives him a lot of power in that decision.

    His retiring is very odd. Isn’t he supposed to be pretty much God’s representative on Earth, infallible to boot? If he’s still alive that means they’re picking God’s OTHER representative on Earth, who will also be infallible. But what if they don’t agree? Then one of them isn’t infallible, right?

    Very confusing to the faithful.

    Either that or he’s going to retire with his “secretary,” Cardinal Hotsi-Totsi, come out of the closet and open a B&B.

  17. CANDIDEINNC says

    Bob–I totally disagree. John XXIII and John Paul I were aberrations. All these pointy-hatted prelates were the same until the Vatican Council. There hadn’t been any movement in the church in centuries. They didn’t even concede the nature of the solar system until the 20th century! And given their affection for the superstitions replete in the Buybull, the differences between the so-called liberal popes is inconsequential.

  18. jamal49 says

    @BOBN Well, now you know why JPI was murdered. JPI had planned to continue the reforms started by John XXIII and temporarily stymied by Paul VI. The reactionary elements within the Church would seen further erosion of their temporal power and the continued liberalization of the Church. Sad to say that you are right that a man just as reactionary as JPII and Benedict will rise to the Throne of St. Peter, probably an African. Right now reactionary Christian orthodoxy (be it Catholic or Protestant) has taken firm root in Africa.

  19. anon says

    If you like conspiracy theories (and you really shouldn’t), I would guess that the recent butler-stole-his-diary scandal politically weakened the pontiff to the point that those vying for his seat suggested strongly that he resign. However, he does have health problems and has stated in the past that a pope should resign if he isn’t up to it. The inconsistency is in allowing old popes to be elected to begin with.

    The Church is all about not getting things done. It’s all about not changing. It’s a bureaucracy incarnate. So, electing do-nothing popes is exactly what the system demands. Keep in mind that the church didn’t actively promote child endangerment, they just did nothing to stop it. So, putting a system in place to allow for more active papacies would really be a radical move for any pope. For example, a rule that you can be elected after age 65 and must resign by 80 would dramatically change the church.

    If they eased out this pope for whatever reason, they’ll elect another caretaker pope in his seventies, probably from Italy, France or Spain. If Ratzinger is still in charge of the process then a slightly younger pope, probably in his sixties, from Europe or South America, though Spain or France would probably be the first choices. You’ll hear lots of wild speculation either way.

  20. steve says

    I can’t help but look at this and think that this is a sign of a massive cultural shift happening… is this the beginning of the end for the Catholic church as we know it?

  21. Moz's says

    yes NAT possible but another issue is the vatican Financial scandal

    EU banks have pulled all banking machines from vatican premises and refuse to carry on any business within vatican grounds thus souvenir purchases are limited to straight up cash brought in by people

    The Vatican can not meat the EU specifications/ regulations on proof of NOt laundering money for drug cartels, mobsters, terrorist orgs, or terrorist states

  22. says

    Can we expect the Catholic change with the next Pope? I don’t really think so. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, formerly the archbishop of Quebec City, has the best odds of replacing Pope Benedict XVI, but he is an extremely conservative man who will definitely not want the Catholic church to change. He is expected to be a carbon copy Pope Benedict XVI.

    And no, I don’t want to hear anything about the Malachian prophecy and the next “end of world”. I have heard enough people talking about the previous “end of the world” that was scheduled for December 2012 and I need a break lol.

  23. Stefan says

    @Matt–Thanks for making some excellent points. You’re right that the successor will likely be as bad if not worse than Ratzinger not only in terms of treatment of gays but in terms of views on reproductive health, etc. Personally, I’ll be sad to see Benedict XVI go–not because I liked him but because he was introverted and never really good at leveraging the political, social, and cultural power of his office. Imagine if his views were delivered by someone charismatic, young, and ambitious. It could be devastating. I think people excited by this aren’t aware of how much worse the next couple decades could be.

  24. Ruddigore says

    But no more Pope Benedict means no more of his personal “secretary” Georg Gänswein, AKA Bel Giorgio, AKA Archbishop Sexy Pants (or Sexy Cassock as the case may be).

  25. gregorybrown says

    I think it’s a given that he will keep the shoes, the cute fur cap ns some other fancy dress items.

    Will he follow the trend and say that his horrible pronouncements on so many topics were “mis-spoken”?

    Given the way the C of C’s is packed, there is no chance that another fluke along the lines of John XXIII will have his junk handled by a wrinkled old retainer to assure the world that the Pontiff is indeed male.

  26. Bill says

    Given some of the comments above, it was only a matter of time before some fake Roman graffiti showed up at the Vatican: “Benedictus fellator rarus” (after some graffiti from Pompeii about Secundus and oral sex).

  27. Akira says

    Holy quit…! What the Pope is going to do after the quit? Well..he will open a holy glory hole and you know that is the Pope behind it, because he has no teeth…lol.

  28. Bill says

    @Akira: Ask Secundus – he is apparently the guy to go to if the graffiti at Pompeii is any indication! Secundus has an in with the Pope – they both speak Latin.

  29. clydee says

    major dirt will be spilled soon,
    all of his whores cant be silenced.

    georgous george is also a big part of this, and the butler who stole the diaries.

    gonna be fun….

  30. billmiller says

    I know why he is quirring! A very dear old and vocal friend of mine passed away last Friday. She was a devout catholic who had little use for this pope. I am quite certain that she had Gods ear and requested the change!

  31. Bill says

    My nominee for pope: John Cota. He’s the pilot who was responsible for the Cosco Busan running into the Bay Bridge in 2007. He has the right experience to be a pope: he’s been in charge of something that doesn’t change course very easily but is subjected to external influences (e.g., currents and wind), and he knows what it is like to preside over a disaster.

    Here’s a picture of him: http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site568/2013/0211/20130211__cota~1_300.JPG – as popes go, he would be a young one.

  32. Tab says

    its interesting that no pope has EVER resigned for health/age reasons- you just die as pope- the ONLY ones that have, have done so because of scandal. I cant imagine this guy would look to history & say to himself “yeah- im tired & old…..” Its just not something that has ever been done. “Ratzy” wouldnt let his legacy be that he as the only one to step down because he though he was too old for the job…… This STINKS of scandal & it’ll come out- cant wait to watch this train wreck :)

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