Pope quits - includes live blog of reaction

Oxford Mail: Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI

POPE Benedict XVI is standing down.

Benedict became the head of the Catholic church in 2005 but a Vatican statement said the pope was unable to continue in office due to his age and diminishing strength.

He is 85, and the papacy will remain vacant until a successor is elected.

  • Scroll down for a live blog of reaction and new to the Pope's resignation

The last Pope to resign rather than die was Gregory XII in 1415.

Locally, it was an initiative from Pope Benedict that saw 12 Anglican nuns convert to Catholicism on January 1.

The sisters, who were based at Wantage’s Community of St Mary the Virgin, left to join the Pope’s Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, set up last year, and were only the second group of Anglican nuns in the country to leave the Church of England for the Roman Catholic Church.

He is the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.

The pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals this morning.

"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," he told the cardinals.

"I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by 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 St Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary - strengths which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately the ministry entrusted to me."

The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants.

The pope called his choice "a decision of great importance for the life of the church."

There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner as was the case when Pope Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.

 

Comments (8)

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1:29pm Mon 11 Feb 13

Grunden Skip says...

what an enlightened man. Not like the last few that carried on until they had to be held up to wave to the St Peters Square crowd
what an enlightened man. Not like the last few that carried on until they had to be held up to wave to the St Peters Square crowd Grunden Skip
  • Score: -2

1:44pm Mon 11 Feb 13

xjohnx says...

I thought that the Pope was Gods choice for the job. Elected by God through his Cardinals actions.

Surely the Pope resigning the job is like an Eskimo resigning his race?
I thought that the Pope was Gods choice for the job. Elected by God through his Cardinals actions. Surely the Pope resigning the job is like an Eskimo resigning his race? xjohnx
  • Score: 2

1:46pm Mon 11 Feb 13

xjohnx says...

PS.

If its just a job that can be taken up and put down at will, Is the Pope actually fallable?
PS. If its just a job that can be taken up and put down at will, Is the Pope actually fallable? xjohnx
  • Score: 1

2:38pm Mon 11 Feb 13

riman09 says...

The pope isn't chosen by God, just men purporting to represent God.

This article is badly written, with untold repetition, you wonder where the mind of the writer was!
The pope isn't chosen by God, just men purporting to represent God. This article is badly written, with untold repetition, you wonder where the mind of the writer was! riman09
  • Score: 1

6:27pm Mon 11 Feb 13

Isawyoucoming says...

Richard dawkins for pope
Richard dawkins for pope Isawyoucoming
  • Score: 0

7:32pm Mon 11 Feb 13

Myron Blatz says...

Oh. I don't know, seems that some City Councillors sometimes think they have 'divine right' - and don't forget that our very own Queen is also Head of the Church of England - which sort of makes a total nonsense of all those Anglicans across the World who don't want women Bishops or Vicars. If only Gordon Brown and his inept Labour pals had resigned, instead of waiting to be voted out of office!
Oh. I don't know, seems that some City Councillors sometimes think they have 'divine right' - and don't forget that our very own Queen is also Head of the Church of England - which sort of makes a total nonsense of all those Anglicans across the World who don't want women Bishops or Vicars. If only Gordon Brown and his inept Labour pals had resigned, instead of waiting to be voted out of office! Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

4:14am Tue 12 Feb 13

Alfie Nokes says...

So Pope Benedict, previously accused by victims' lawyers of being ultimately responsible for an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse of children by priests, no longer can rely on not being called to testify at any trial because the immunity as a head of state he enjoyed will no longer be there.

Do I see this actually happening?
Less than a three letter answer.
So Pope Benedict, previously accused by victims' lawyers of being ultimately responsible for an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse of children by priests, no longer can rely on not being called to testify at any trial because the immunity as a head of state he enjoyed will no longer be there. Do I see this actually happening? Less than a three letter answer. Alfie Nokes
  • Score: 0

10:49am Sat 16 Feb 13

Alfie Nokes says...

...and in further news, we learn he is to live within the Vatican after he's de-poped, thus maintaining immunity, apparently.
...and in further news, we learn he is to live within the Vatican after he's de-poped, thus maintaining immunity, apparently. Alfie Nokes
  • Score: 0

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