First Pope to Embrace Social Media, @Pontifex to Resign Feb 28
Pope Benedict XVI, 85, has announced earlier today that he is stepping down from his duties on February 28th. In a surprising press release sent out this morning, the Vatican cited the Pope's flagging health making it increasingly difficult for him to fulfill the responsibilities of the post:
"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."
According to Roman Catholic tradition, a Conclave will be called to replace him.
Benedict's older brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, 89, was interviewed at his home in Regensburg, stating that his brother had been mulling over the decision to step down from the Catholic Church's highest post for months, and had been recently advised by his doctor not to travel long distances via air anymore. Ratzinger also stated that his brother was increasingly having difficulties even walking.
"His age is weighing on him," Msgr. Ratzinger said of his 85-year-old brother, Pope Benedict XVI who announced earlier in the day he would resign Feb. 28. "At this age my brother wants more rest."
As you would expect, news agencies and the faithful have taken to social media, particularly Twitter, to state their shock over the sudden announcement. After all, Pope Benedict XVI is the first Pope to step down from his post since the Middle Ages.
Others, including Italian journalist Antonio Socci, saw Benedict XVI's resignation coming as far back as late 2011. According to Socci, Benedict was planning to vacate the post a month before the Vatican Leaks scandal, wherein Paolo Gabriele, the Pope's own butler, was alleged to have smuggled confidential correspondences from the Vatican, exposing petty infighting and financial corruption.
Plans for Benedict XVI's retirement were put on hold, in order to minimize the appearance that the Pope was leaving due to the scandal erupting.Continued on the next page