Update: Why the Pope retired For Real: Kevin Annett: European Governance issued an arrest warrant: and Closure and seizure of Vatican assets: Here are all the notices and dates Also See: Pope Benedict to seek immunity and protection from Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on February 23 Being a former Catholic as they were selling trying to sell us on the fact the Pope Benedict was retiring due to health reasons and how this was such an honorable thing to do… possibly setting a new precedent for modern times, something just didn’t feel right. And as usual the church and the ever so complicit and/or lazy U.S. media wasn’t doing their job… at least not the job of being the watchdog for the people. Ask Marion~ – h/t to MJ and Anne
VATICAN CITY (TheBlaze/AP) — Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would resign on Feb. 28 because he was simply too infirm to carry on – the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.
TheBlaze: The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning.
He emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope – the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide – requires “both strength of mind and body.”
“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 barque 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 recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
This file picture taken on December 31, 2012 shows Pope Benedict XVI arriving to pray in front of the nativity crib in Saint Peter’s Square after celebrating the Vespers and Te Deum prayers in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013 announced he will resign on February 28, a Vatican spokesman told AFP, which will make him the first pope to do so in centuries. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Video: Pope Benedict XVI to Resign
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.
Benedict called his choice “a decision of great importance for the life of the church.”
The announcement did come as a surprise to many, including New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. He was interviewed about it on the “Today” show and detailed his initial thoughts. He revealed that he wondered at first if it was just a rumor after getting a call from NBC’s Matt Lauer. That quickly gave way to confirmation:
“We did have fair warning, but at the same time since it is something that hasn’t happened in centuries, it always does comes as a surprise,” former Fox News reporter and Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told “Today.”
The move sets the stage for the Vatican to hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope doesn’t have to be observed.
There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner – the same situation when Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.
When Benedict was elected pope at age 78 – already the oldest pope elected in nearly 300 years – he had been already planning to retire as the Vatican’s chief orthodoxy watchdog to spend his final years writing in the “peace and quiet” of his native Bavaria.
Contenders to be his successor include Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the archbishop of Vienna, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican’s office for bishops.
Longshots include Dolan. But while Dolan is popular and backs the pope’s conservative line, the general thinking is that the Catholic Church doesn’t need a pope from a “superpower.” You can read TheBlaze’s detailed story on that from when Dolan was first named Cardinal here.
All cardinals under age 80 are allowed to vote in the conclave, the secret meeting held in the Sistine Chapel where cardinals cast ballots to elect a new pope. As per tradition, the ballots are burned after each voting round; black smoke that snakes out of the chimney means no pope has been chosen, while white smoke means a pope has been elected.
Popes are allowed to resign; church law specifies only that the resignation be “freely made and properly manifested.”
Only a handful have done so, however and there’s good reason why it hasn’t become commonplace: Might the existence of two popes – even when one has stepped down – lead to divisions and instability in the church? Might a new resignation precedent lead to pressures on future popes to quit at the slightest hint of infirmity?
Benedict himself raised the possibility of resigning if he were simply too old or sick to continue on in 2010, when he was interviewed for the book “Light of the World.”
“If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign,” Benedict said.
The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had an intimate view as Pope John Paul II, with whom he had worked closely for nearly a quarter-century, suffered through the debilitating end of his papacy.
You can read the full text of the resignation announcement to the Cardinals below:
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 barque 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.
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.
As Pope Benedict XVI prepares his exit, the natural question observers are asking is: Who’s going to replace the pontiff? Speculation is already running rampant, with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power placing online bets on the results of the impending conclave. While there’s no definitive way to tell who will inevitably be selected by the cardinals to succeed Benedict, some key figures are being highlighted as good fits for the job. One can only wonder if the Pope is suffering from a condition or disease that is more serious than he or the Vatican is saying. Or is it truly the weight of the ongoing pedophilia trials in America, the changes in the world and demographics in the church, or is the spiritual war heating up needing a younger and stronger Supreme Pontiff?
This morning, TheBlaze reported that, throughout the church’s recent history, papal resignations are virtually non-existent. In fact, Benedict is the first pope in 600 years to abdicate the position and the first known Catholic leader in history to do so for health reasons. Whoever is chosen (we highlight the complex process here) will end up serving with the papal predecessor still living and remaining involved, at least to some degree, in the church — yet another factor that serves as an anomaly.
Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta, Fra Matthew Festing stands near Pope Benedict XVI during a mass given to mark the 900th anniversary of the official recognition of the Order of Malta by Pope Pascal II on February 9, 2013 in the Vatican City, Italy. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI addressed over 4,000 members of the Order of Malta who have travelled from across the world to Rome to celebrate this event. The mass was presided over by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See. Credit: Getty Images
Among the Catholic leaders who are being pinpointed by media as potential replacements are Canadian Cardinal Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana, and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri of Argentina, among others. These options, alone, show the geographic and ethnic diversity present within the potential pool. But Paddy Power lists many others who the company believes could be under consideration. Here’s what the group says of some of the top contenders’ chances of being selected:
Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet is 5/2 market leader to be elected as the next Pope. He is Prefect of the congregation for Bishops which is seen as a powerful position within the Vatican, it seems. According to one of the Paddy Power lads who has his finger on the Catholic pulse, Cardinal Marc has experience of working in Latin in America, is a friend of Benedict and is apparently outgoing and charismatic. [...]
Cardinal Peter Turkson is 7/2 and speaks six languages. The Ghanaian can understand Latin and Greek and has seen plenty of support early doors.
Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria at 7/2. If either Cardinal Francis Arinze or Cardinal Peter Turkson are elected it would be the first time in history there would be a black Pope.
Early steamers in the market are Cardinal Keith O’Brien from Scotland who has been trimmed from 40/1 into 33/1, and Ireland’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin who has seen his price slashed from 150/1 in to 80/1.
While many of these names may seem unfamiliar to you (after all, these men are Catholic leaders from across the globe), we’ll take a brief look at at least a few of the key men who are mentioned above and in ongoing media speculation.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet holds a mass in celebration of The Pilgrimage of the Holy Robe at the Cathedral of St Peter on April 13, 2012 in Trier, Germany. The Pilgrimage of the Holy Robe runs from April 13 to May 13, during which hundreds of thousands pilgrims are expected to view the Holy Robe. The robe, said to have been worn by Jesus Christ leading up to his crucifixion, is housed by the cathedral and rarely displayed for public viewing. Credit: Getty Images
Oullet, 68, is the Archbishop of Quebec. Having expressed a hesitation at prospects of being elected pope in the past, it’s unclear whether he would accept the position (it is permissible to decline if one does not feel called to the papacy). Considering that he speaks six languages, Oullet would certainly be an attractive candidate. After all, he’d be able to communicate with a diverse subset of the global populace (see his Business Insider (BI) profile here).
Then there’s Turkson, 64, from Ghana who serves as the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. As BI notes, he’s well-liked among the cardinals, a rising star, an excellent communicator and the face of an emerging church populace in Africa. With Europe and the West the central focus of Catholicism, his election would mean that eyes are also being set on other areas of potential growth across the globe (read more about him here).
Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson (Photo Credit: AP)
Of course, Oullet and Turkson are only two of the many options for potential replacements. In fact, BI has profiled 17 men who could be chosen for the top spot. Among the names not previously mentioned in this article is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the 63-year-old Archbishop of New York. Last year, TheBlaze explored whether Dolan could become the first American pope. While such prospects are entirely possible, he isn’t currently faring well on Paddy Power’s web site (however, that’s not indicative of actual success or failure).
While BI doesn’t weigh too fervently either way, the outlet does mention that an American in a heavily-Italian Vatican would be a potentially-bad mix. This would thus be a strike against Dolan’s chances in the eyes of some critics.
Visit BI for all 17 profiles on potential papal replacements. TheBlaze will continue to cover these prospects as we move closer to the conclave.
WND: Seems 'Final pope' authors predicted Benedict would resign
Although a Roman Catholic pope had not stepped down in nearly 600 years, the startling resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was predicted by the co-authors of a book published last spring about a medieval prophecy that the next pontiff will be the last.
In Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope Is Here co-authors Tom Horn and Cris Putnam examine St. Malachy’s “Prophecy of the Popes,” said to be based on his prophetic vision of the next 112 popes, beginning with Pope Celestine II, who died in 1144. Malachy presented a description of each pope, culminating with the “final pope,” “Peter the Roman,” whose reign would end with the destruction of Rome and judgment.
Horn explained to WND in an interview today that his conclusion Benedict would resign rather than die in the papacy was based not only on St. Malachy but also on a host of historical and current information.
“We took ‘The Prophecy of the Popes,’ we took what was happening in Italian media, and we determined, based on a great deal of information, that Pope Benedict would likely step down, citing health reasons, in 2012 or 2013,” he said.
St. Malachy was an Irish saint and the archbishop of Armagh, who lived from 1094 to 1l48. Malacy described the penultimate pope, which Horn believes is Benedict, as “Gloria Olivae,” or “Glory of the Olive.”
Pope Benedict XVI was not a Benedictine priest, yet he chose the name of Benedict, the founder of the Order of Saint Benedict, which also is known as the Olivetans
The symbol of the Benedictine order includes an olive branch.
Benedict, speaking Monday morning in Latin to a small gathering of cardinals at the Vatican, said that after examining his 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 leading the Roman Catholic Church.
Peter the Roman
Horn and Putnam discuss the evidence pointing to a Benedict resignation on pages 74 and 486 of their April 2012 book, and Horn has made the prediction on a number of radio programs in recent months, including Jan. 13.
Malachy described the last Pope as “Petrus Romanus,” or “Peter the Roman,” writing: “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock among many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people.”
Horn and his co-author have created their own list of 10 candidates to succeed Benedict and become “Peter the Roman.”
Interestingly, a leading candidate is Cardinal Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone, the Cardinal secretary of state, who was born in Romano, Italy. His name could, therefore, be rendered Peter the Roman.
Another Peter on the list is a black African, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, the current president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
In any case, Horn noted, Catholics believe the pope inhabits the “Petrine office” as a successor of the apostle Peter.
Other candidates on Horn’s list are Francis Arinze, Angelo Scola, Gianfranco Ravasi, Leonardo Sandri, Ennio Antonelli, Jean-Louis Tauran, Christoph Schönborn and Marc Quellet.
In 1880, M. J. O’Brien, a Catholic priest, published in Dublin a book providing a “historical and critical account” of St. Malachy’s prophecies: An Historical And Critical Account Of The So-Called Prophecy Of St. Malachy: Regarding The Succession Of Popes.
O’Brien believed Malachy was declaring that the reign of the pope identified as Petrus Romanus would culminate with the end of the world and the return of Jesus Christ.
O’Brien describes Malachy’s vision occurring while the saint was in Rome for a month, visiting and praying at the Eternal City’s many historical and holy sites.
The sight of the ruins of Pagan Rome, the tombs of the Apostles, the thought of so many thousands of martyrs, the presence of [Pope] Innocent II, who had been obligated to wander so many years in France and elsewhere on account of the anti-pope Anaclete – all this, I say, filled the mind of St. Malachy with deep and sad reflections and he was forced to cry out in the words of the old prophets: “Usquequo, Domine non misereberis Sion?” – “How long, O Lord! wilt Thou not have mercy on Sion?”
And God answered: “Until the end of the world the Church will be both militant and triumphant. Until the end of time the sufferings of my passion and the mysteries of my cross must be continued on earth, and I shall be with you until the end of the world.” And then was unfolded before the gaze of the holy bishop of Armagh the long line of illustrious pilots who were to guide the storm-tossed bark of Peter until the end.
Malachy gave his manuscript to Innocent II, who was pontiff from 1130 to 1143. The document was placed in the Vatican archives, where it remained unknown until its discovery in 1590.
Through the past 900 years, various critics have questioned the authenticity and the accuracy of St. Malachy’s prophecies, often arguing the methods used by some of his interpreters to apply his epithets to certain popes have been tortuous.
Horn told WND he and Putnam took a critical view of “The Prophecy of the Popes” and determined that the first part of it, the first 70 or so predictions, probably was altered in the late 16th century.
“It appears that somebody had altered the original medieval document from 1590 backward to promote a particular cardinal to the College of Cardinals to be the fulfillment of what at that time was still a secret list of popes,” Horn explained.
An advocate for Cardinal Girolamo Simoncelli, Horn said, likely “tinkered with the document to make it look like it was pointing toward Simoncelli.”
In “Petrus Romanus,” Horn said, he and Putnam “disregard everything pre-1595, as partly or fully tainted.”
After 1595, however, “The Prophecy of the Popes” was open to public scrutiny.
A modern version of Malachy’s prophecies was published in 1969 by Archbishop H. E. Cardinale, the Apostolic Nuncio to Belgium and Luxembourg.
Cardinale wrote “it is fair to say the vast majority of Malachy’s predictions about successive Popes is amazingly accurate – always remembering that he gives only a minimum of information.”
Horn noted Benedict’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, also a priest, suggested last year that the pontiff might retire at age 85, arguing Catholic law would allow for him to step down if his health wouldn’t allow him to continue.
Benedict, himself, made a case for papal resignation in a book-length interview, “Light of the World.”
Asked if he thought it appropriate for a pope to retire, he said, “If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.”
Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope Is Here: For more than 800 years scholars have pointed to the dark augury having to do with “the last Pope.” The prophecy, taken from St. Malachy’s “Prophecy of the Popes,” is among a list of verses predicting each of the Roman Catholic popes from Pope Celestine II to the final pope, “Peter the Roman,” whose reign would end in the destruction of Rome. First published in 1595, the prophecies were attributed to St. Malachy by a Benedictine historian named Arnold de Wyon, who recorded them in his book, "Lignum Vitæ." Tradition holds that Malachy had been called to Rome by Pope Innocent II, and while there, he experienced the vision of the future popes, including the last one, which he wrote down in a series of cryptic phrases. According to the prophecy, the next pope (following Benedict XVI) is to be the final pontiff, Petrus Romanus or Peter the Roman. The idea by some Catholics that the next pope on St. Malachy’s list heralds the beginning of “great apostasy” followed by “great tribulation” sets the stage for the imminent unfolding of apocalyptic events, something many non-Catholics would agree with. This would give rise to a false prophet, who according to the book of Revelation leads the world’s religious communities into embracing a political leader known as Antichrist. In recent history, several Catholic priests – some deceased now – have been surprisingly outspoken on what they have seen as this inevitable danger rising from within the ranks of Catholicism as a result of secret satanic “Illuminati-Masonic” influences. These priests claim secret knowledge of an multinational power elite and occult hierarchy operating behind supranatural and global political machinations. Among this secret society are sinister false Catholic infiltrators who understand that, as the Roman Catholic Church represents one-sixth of the world’s population and over half of all Christians, it is indispensable for controlling future global elements in matters of church and state and the fulfillment of a diabolical plan they call “Alta Vendetta,” which is set to assume control of the papacy and to help the False Prophet deceive the world’s faithful (including Catholics) into worshipping Antichrist. As stated by Dr. Michael Lake on the front cover, Catholic and evangelical scholars have dreaded this moment for centuries. Unfortunately, as readers will learn, time for avoiding Peter the Roman just ran out.
This is a developing story. Updates will be added.