By Chris Gill
February 14, 2013
Pope Benedict XVI made history Monday by being the first pope in 600 years to retire. Benedict made the announcement
saying, “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.”
This shocking news was met with some incredulity as one individual commented on facebook, “I am utterly surprised at the news for sure! And can’t help wondering what age has to do with it? With advance in medicine, people are living longer and longer nowadays.”
There have been growing debates over who is going to replace him and a debate over the merits of electing a pope from a developing nation rather than a European one. One way or another it has been made clear that Benedict will play no part in decision process. His final day will be February 28 and by 8 p.m. he will no longer be the Pontiff.
One indicator of how rare this is that the Vatican is unsure of what to call him now that he is no longer the Pope. A representative from the Vatican, Greg Burke said, “He would likely be referred to as Bishop of Rome emeritus.” Other officials say it is likely the new Pope will decide his title but that he may still be referred to as “Your Holiness” as a courtesy.
With the Pope’s retirement at the end of the month the College of Cardinals are likely to elect a new Pope in time for Easter. For the moment the eyes of the world are fixated on the Vatican and the College of Cardinals. Where the Catholic church goes from here is unknown but it is clear that Benedict’s retirement has impacted people’s views of the Papacy.