Pope Benedict XVI resigned
Pope Benedict XVI said goodbye to the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Usually the audience of the pope in the winter is being held in the hall audiences of Pope Paul IV. However, this time the number of requested tickets were too high, about 50 thousand. Therefore they decided to hold an audience at St. Peter's Square.
Benedict XVI, the first time in the history of the Catholic Church over the past 600 years, renounced the papacy. Explaining the reasons for his move to such a resonance, Benedict XVI said that he could not serve faithfully as ever, because of loss of strength and old age.
And more details…
This is an unexpected decision. Pope Benedict XVI -- born Joseph Ratzinger -- has announced that he is to resign. Benedict was elected pope in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II. So what his resignation means for the Catholic Church?
Why has Pope Benedict XVI resigned?
Pope Benedict who turns 86 in April, said that he had come to the certainty "that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry."
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Pope Benedict had the right and potentially the duty to resign. Also he stressed that the pope's decision was not because of any external pressure. Lombardi told reporters the pope was not unwell. "There isn't any disease specifically -- it's all to do with deterioration and weakness in his body, as the holy pontiff has said in his statement," he said.
Lombardi said the battery in the pope's pacemaker -- which he has had since he was a cardinal -- had been replaced in the last few months, but he stressed that it was a routine procedure.
|Joseph Ratzinger poses for a photo while a German air force assistant in 1943.|
|Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, right, poses for a picture in Vatican City in June 1977 with fellow cardinals|