On Saturday 10 February, the Vatican, released a statement revealing the shocking news that Pope Benedict XI had resigned his post as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
The, ‘Holy Father’ as he is known among Catholics worldwide cited his advanced age and deteriorating health as some of the reasons why he is quitting the responsibility of leading Catholic Christians, a role entrusted to him in 2005 following the death of the famous Pope John Paul II.
“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.” The statement read in part.
“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.” It added.
The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII back in 1415, a move aimed at ending the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants.
Pope Benedict’s reign as supreme Pontiff has been rocked by sex scandals with accusations of sex abuse in America and Australia that have cast dark image on his short stay at the helm of the Catholic Church’s leadership.
Also, during his seven years as Pope, Benedict has been torn between relaxing the church’s views on same sex unions, whose acceptance in the world society is fast gaining ground in the west.
Last year, the Holy see was hit by allegations of corruption brought by the Pope’s former Butler Paolo Gabrielli. It is these scandals that have cast a dark stain Pope Benedict’s reign as Pontiff.
The Vatican says it expects a new pope to be elected next month before Easter, after Pope Benedict XVI said he would resign on February 28