Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation in Latin during a meeting with cardinals on February 11, 2013, and the news was broadcast on Vatican Radio’s website shortly after.
“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,” the Pope said.
Benedict also said that his strength, over 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.”
Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85. But resignation is extremely rare: the last Pope to step aside was Pope Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415 amid a schism within the Church.According to journalist and teologist Yan Babitski, the Code of Canon Law recommends a pontiff to resign at the age of 75. When Benedict XVI was elected Pope he was older.
“When a new church leader is elected nobody takes seriously the question of age. The person who can ensure the church will go the proper way is usually needed.Millions of believers, church structures and a lot of other things should be taken into account. Bur one may also find positive aspects here: if one admits their inability to steer another person it would be good to make way for anybody else who is capable of doing it well,” the expert stresses.
As Benedict XVI succeeded Jan Pawel II, who had set very high standards, he was in deep water. An additional point is that he had to deal with corruption scandals and sex abuse cases. It is not surprising that he lost heart.
The Catholic Church is likely to decide on more conservative candidate. “Even if there is any change God’s mill grinds slowly,” Yan Babitski believes. In his opinion, there is every likelihood that Pope Benedict’s successor will follow his policy.