|A visibly tired Benedict XVI|
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Monday, February 11, 2013
FLASH NEWS: Benedict XVI resigns!
Benedict XVI's announcement that he will resign on 28 February has surprised Catholics and the wider world. This is an entirely unexpected development, the Vatican has confirmed. The 85-year-old became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005 following the death of John Paul II.
The reasons behind the head of the Catholic Church's surprise resignation have yet to emerge, although it is known that Vatileaks and the child sex abuse by many clerics have taken a heavy toll on the Pope's already frail health.
Resignations from the papacy are not unknown, but the last (similar) one was by Celestine V in 1294. The last Pope de facto to resign was Gregory XII on 4 July 1415, but his resignation was pronounced during the Council of Constance amid the Western Schism and was accepted by the Cardinals.
At 78, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest new popes in history when elected.
He will be remembered by traditional Catholics for Summorum Pontificum and for his tireless efforts for an agreement with the SSPX.
It is expected that Ratzinger will go to the Papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo after resigning, and will then move to a cloistered residence in the Vatican, after the election of the new Pontiff.