Pope Benedict has announced he will be resigning at the end of the month. The 85 year old pontiff told cardinals of his resignation, citing a lack of strength due to his age.

“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,” he told the cardinals. “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.”

Pope Benedict will be the first Pope in 600 years to resign from the post, with only four of five popes resigning in the churches history.

Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana and Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria are early possible successors for the position. With others suggesting a cardinal from Latin America may be Pope Benedict’s successor.

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France 24


  1. Pope’s resignation ‘linked to sex abuse crisis’, says Mea Maxima Culpa director

    Oscar-winning film-maker Alex Gibney, whose documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God details a small part of the current wave of accusations surrounding the Catholic church, has suggested that the Pope’s resignation stems from the stain of recent sex scandals.

    Gibney, whose film is out in the UK on Friday, told the Hollywood Reporter that the departure of Benedict XVI had brought great solace to people who had suffered abuse at the hands of priests. “His papacy will always be saddled with the stain of the sex abuse crisis,” he said, adding that the resignation “seems to me inextricably linked to the sex abuse crisis”.

    Gibney’s film, which screened in the US on the HBO pay-TV channel last week, examines the case of five deaf men who were abused as boys by one predatory priest at the St John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee during the 1960s. Despite taking their claims all the way to the Vatican in their quest for justice, they were consistently rebuffed. Benedict XVI, in his earlier capacity as Cardinal Ratzinger, was responsible for ordering all reports of sex abuse to be channelled through his office at the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, which he ran from 2001 to 2005.

    Two of the men whose stories are detailed in Gibney’s film “expressed great joy that he had resigned”, said Gibney. “They felt he was a symbolic figure for them, and his resignation showed some sense of accountability from the church. So, yes, they were actually joyful.” One wrote in an email: “Finally. Many, many thanks to you and your crew for spreading our word, because we want to protect all innocent children. May the universe bless you.”

    Gibney, who won an Oscar for his war-on-terror torture film Taxi to the Dark Side in 2007, admitted he had no proof for his suggestion that the Pope resigned due to the sex abuse crisis surrounding the church. However, he noted that media criticism had heightened recently due to deepening scandals in Los Angeles and Australia.

    Pope Benedict XVI announced his pending resignation on Monday in an unusual move – the first departure via abdication in almost 600 years – which has drawn speculation from media worldwide. “It is very strange,” said Gibney. “It’s two days before Ash Wednesday. Because of the way that the conclave works, it means no pope will probably reside over Easter Sunday Mass. You wonder if there is another shoe to drop.”


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