Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, announced today that as of 8:00 PM (Italian time) on February 28, 2013, he is RESIGNING from his office as pontiff. He feels due to the mental and physical demands of the office, he is no longer capable, at the age of 85, of fulfilling this ministry.
For those who were wondering, this is practically unprecedented. The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII in 1415, as part of the Schism.
I find myself saddened and almost frightened by this news. Who can say what lies ahead for the Church now?
But, as Benedict himself Tweeted, in his final post, what happens now must be a question of faith, mercy, and grace. “We must trust in the mighty power of God’s mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new.” It’s hard to believe–a move such as this raises questions, doubts, fears–but maybe this is a beginning for us, and our Church can be also made new.
I have a question: What happens to a retired Pope?