Today during a mass held in Latin his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation.
The reason given by 85 year old Pope Benedict XVI for his decision to hand over the papal throne to another is that his advanced years prevent him from doing his job in the way he would prefer.
There has been nothing in recent news of Pope Benedict leaving although back in the latter half 2011 rumors of a planned resignation had been floating around. At that time, the rumors were dismissed by the Vatican. The Pope’s brother apparently knew of Benedict’s decision to go for many months, according to a report in Germany’s Der Spiegel.
Now speculation as to the real reason, or reasons, for Pope Benedict’s decision to go will begin to surface. In February 2012, Italian news website ll Fatto Quotidiano carried a story about supposed a plot against Pope Benedict. According to the rumors, Pope Benedict was likely to die in the next 12 months. Pope Benedict has not died, but 12 months have passed. Speculation surrounding the poor state of health of Pope Benedict had been growing the BBC’s David Willey in Rome told the BBC World Service.
Pope Benedict’s reputation had already been harmed by a whistle-blower incident last year and in 2013, rumors of allegedly illicit dealings between the Vatican IOR bank and the troubled Monte Paschi di Siena bank had started spreading.
Is Pope Benedict getting out of the frying pan before the heat becomes to hot to bear? Some will be wondering, and his Holiness did state that he was leaving for the “good of the church”.
Pope Benedict’s resignation will come into effect on February 28th at 8pm Italian time. A new Pope should be elected in time for Easter.
Gregory XII was the last pope to resign, way back in 1415.
Who will succeed Pope Benedict?
One rumor is that a certain Cardinal Scola will be elected as successor to Pope Benedict. Bookmakers in the UK are favoring Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana as a Benedict replacement.
Mario Monti said he was shocked by the Pope Benedict’s decision to stand down.