By: Elisabetta Povoledo and Alan Conwell
Published: February 11, 2013
New York Times

On Monday, February 11, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will resign on February 28, 2013. Benedict has only been in office for eight years and is the first pope to resign in six centuries, the last one being Gregory XII who left the papacy in 1415 to “end what was known as the Western Schism among several competitors for the papacy.” On Monday, the pope said “‘I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise’ of his position as head of the world’s one billion Roman Catholics.”

The Vatican spokesman, Reverend Lombardi, made it clear that there is no ‘motive’ for the pope’s resignation, but his health and age (85 years old) are stopping him from properly performing his duties as pope. But some believe that he is stepping down because of scandals centered on abuse. Apparently in 1985, “when Benedict was Cardinal Ratzinger, he signed a letter putting off efforts to defrock a convicted child-molesting priest.” There have been problems in the past and even today that the church has “shielded priests accused of molestation, minimized behavior it would have otherwise deemed immoral and kept it secret from the civil authorities, forestalling criminal prosecution.” In 2010, some secular and liberal Catholics demanded that for the resignation of the pope. So the question arises, is there something more to the story other than his declining health that has to do with the hard to ignore abuse scandals?


Catherine Soltesz
2/14/2013 09:53:52 am

I think it is sad that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning. Although, I can imagine it would be hard to keep up his duties at the age of 85. I don't know why he would be resigning now if these questions arose three years ago. Therefore, I believe that he is resigning because of health issues.


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