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City of Brass

City of Brass

The Pope resigns

Signature of Pope Benedict XVI

This is astonishing news – Pope Benedict has informed his brethren at the Vatican that he will be retiring due to “advanced age”. I honestly thought that this was a hoax until I saw it was making early morning headlines and trending on Twitter/reddit etc.

It obviously speaks well of Benedict that his concern for his office and the Church outweighs any personal desires to remain in power, and at age 85 it must certainly be a great burden on him physically.

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The biggest question is, will the Cardinals finally accept reality and nominate someone from Latin America as the new Pope? Of the most likely successors to Benedict, there are two cardinals from Latin America who seem to have the most promise: Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina. Among the 120 cardinals who have a vote in the next Conclave, 21 are from Latin America, 14 from North America, and 11 from Asia and Africa each, but there are still 62 Europeans.

The Pope’s resignation is in effect at the end of February, and the Conclave will occur in March. I would love to invite any comment from Catholic readers about what they hope to see in their next Pope and who their preferences are.

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Here’s the full text of his letter to the cardinals:

“Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with 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 Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in 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. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

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Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.”

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