Finding God on Gannon’s Campus

Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics when he announced his resignation from the Chair of St. Peter on Feb. 11. The last papal resignation occurred nearly 600 years ago.

In a prepared statement, the pontiff cited his declining health as the primary motivation in stepping down as Bishop of Rome: “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.”

Mere observation of the pope shows this: instead of processing in to celebrate mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, he now is “driven in” by a glorified moving platform.

Additionally, earlier this year the pope’s doctor told him that transatlantic trips were off limits. Since becoming the pope in 2005 at the age of 78, Pope Benedict XVI has made several trips around the world — including one to the United States in 2008.

Pope Benedict XVI was born Joseph Ratzinger in the Bavaria region of Germany and was elected to the papacy following the reign of Pope John Paul II. While many saw Benedict as an intermediary to bridge the gap between his predecessor and his now soon-to-be-determined successor, Pope Benedict XVI, nonetheless made many meaningful contributions to the Catholic Church.

During his reign, the pontiff stressed the importance of “friendship with Christ,” and authored several books and three encyclical letters. A theologian by education, he has been noted by conservative members of the Catholic hierarchy as a guardian of the faith.

He inherited many problems including the sex abuse scandal that, during his reign, came fully exposed in the solidly Catholic nation of Ireland. The Pope also experienced a very public betrayal when his personal butler leaked classified documents to the media.

As the world now prepares for a conclave to choose his successor, Pope Benedict XVI plans to disappear from the public sphere and lead a quiet life at a monastery located within the Vatican city-state.

While the conclave’s start date still is yet to be determined, sources close to the Vatican hope that a new pope will be elected in time for Holy Week — the week leading up to Easter — which is the principle feast in the church year.



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