The Catholic Church’s Pope Benedict XVI plans to resign this month because of failing health, the Vatican announced Sunday, February 10, 2013. The 85-year-old leader of the Roman Catholic Church will resign February 28, 2013.
Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th pope of Rome, was born as Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on April 16, 1927 at Marktl am Inn or “Little market on the river Inn”, Diocese of Passau (Germany). Pope Benedict XVI held the church’s top position since 2005. His replacement will be selected by a group of cardinals. He announced his resignation in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, calling it “a decision of great importance for the life of the church.”
Pope Benedict, 85, took over of leading the Catholic Church after the death of Pope John Paul II. He has decided to retire because of poor health. He has been at the head of the Catholic Church for nearly eight years. A Pope retiring is almost unheard of.
The Pope announced his resignation in a statement which said, “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 ministry.” He also said, “Carrying out the duties of being a good leader requires both a strength of mind and body.”
When Pope Benedict XVI was announcing that he would resign, lightning struck St. Peters Basilica in Rome. In fact, two lightning bolts struck the Basilica roof after the pope announced his resignation on Monday. Some believed that it was sign from God, and was caught on camera by an AFP photographer Filippo Monteforte.
After an hour before the news was told of Pope Benedict XVI resigning, it has been confirmed by the Vatican that a new pope for the Roman Catholic Church will be elected and installed before Easter. That means the Vatican will have to find a new pope within fifty days. Until they can find a successor, the seat of Pope Benedict XVI will remain empty.