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Pope Benedict XVI Declares Resignation, Receives overture from European Leaders

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter his tenure at papacy for above eight years, Pope Benedict XVI, otherwise known as Josef Aloisius Raitzinger, has tendered his resignation from the highest post in the Catholic Church, citing advanced-age fatigue as the reason for the surprising decision.

He will be the fourth Pope to have stepped down during his term. The Pope, at 85, says that he is too advanced in age to properly look after the flock, and due to misgivings about his “strengths”  he has seen it is unsuitable to carry out his duties.

Sky News, on Monday, reported that the Pope will no longer be the leader of the Vatican on February 28, 2013.

In Germany, the native home of Aloisius Ratzinger, the Chancellor, Angela Merkel sent an overture to the resigning Pope saying that she was moved by the resignation message itself. She also commented on the personal enlightenment of Pope Benedict XVI, with words to the effect that he had showed an extra understanding of history, as well as, keen interest in a united Europe. For these reasons, she respected his wish to leave the post.

Across the border, in France, President François Hollande also termed the decision as highly revered but eschewed further comment as the country separates church from state. On the other side of the English Channel, the PM David Cameron sent a message concerning the nostalgia that will seep in after the departure of a “spiritual leader”  to countless numbers of people around the globe. The PM was also on record concerning the relentless role the Pope had played in his endeavor to uphold connections with the Anglican country which had faltered since Henry VIII’s times.

The Pope’s career was not blemish-free, as with all church matters, with the last missile that came his way being the leak by a Vatican insider concerning church bribery, a case that led to a court conviction.

One of Four

Pope Benedict XVI is one of four popes who have ever taken it upon their hands to pass on to society, with the most immediate one being Gregory XII in the early 15th century who sacrificed his office to prevent the Great Schism from widening. More than two centuries, earlier, in 1294, Pope Celestine V had forfeited his young term, as a result of the ennui of a recluse, after just a 90-day stint. Even earlier, Benedict IX, who rose into the helm of the church aged 20, in 1032 A.D., had also left the papacy in what people say was in order to marry, while others because of coercion by his predecessor, Gregory VI. The latter went on to resign his term in years to come.

Appropriately enough, the latest pope to tender his resignation will be doing so at the end of the month, on the same day Catholics mark the feast of a respected saint of the church.


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