Citing that he no longer has the strength to fulfill the duties of his office, Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday his resignation.
Reports say Pope Benedict XVI delivered his resignation – effective Feb. 28.
The announcement has drawn different reactions worldwide and stunned his closest aides and more than 1 billion Catholics as well.
Pope Benedict XVI is reportedly the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.
Having a reputation as a traditionalist leader, Pope Benedict delivered his resignation to a private church body in Vatican City, citing his incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to him.
Who will be the next Pope?
News started to stir that the next pope could come from the Latin America.
The conclave to choose the next pope is expected to convene in mid-March and the world will expect a new pope in place in time to preside over Easter Mass.
US Reaction to Pope’s resignation
In a press statement in Washington DC, Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States is grateful to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for his leadership of and ministry to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
“He has been a man of action and principle, working to promote human rights and dignity in places around the globe where they are too often denied, and a voice of clarity and conviction about our obligations as stewards of a fragile planet.” – Mr. Kerry
Mr. Kerry recalls that he heard Pope Benedict say during the Mass he celebrated in Washington nearly five years ago, Americans remain a people of hope and America a land of freedom and opportunity.
According to Mr. Kerry, Pope Benedict believes that the qualities that have made US a strong nation can also help make the world freer and more just.
The US has been honored to work with the Holy See during the nearly eight years of his papacy and look forward to continued collaboration in areas of common interest to our nation and to the Catholic Church.
“We wish Pope Benedict great peace and health and we will keep him in our prayers.” – Mr. Kerry
As a conservative and formidable theologian who preached a gospel of conservative faith to a fast-changing world, Pope Benedict preached to Catholics to kneel and receive on the tongue only.
Pope Benedict XVI does not want the faithful receiving Communion in their hand nor does he want them standing to receive Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
According to Vatican liturgist, Monsignor Guido Marini, the pope is trying to set the stage for the whole church as to the proper norm for receiving Communion. The communicants at his papal Masses are now asked to kneel and receive on the tongue.
The Holy Father’s reasoning is simple: “We Christians kneel before the Blessed Sacrament because, therein, we know and believe to be the presence of the One True God.” (May 22, 2008)
According to the pope the entire Church should kneel in adoration before God in the Eucharist.
The pope’s action is in accord with the Church’s 2000 year tradition. It is being done in order to foster a renewed love and respect for the Eucharist which presently is being mocked and treated with contempt in a fast-changing world.
Pope Benedict’s papacy began in 2005 and reportedly only the second time a head of the Catholic church has stepped down.