Pope Benedict XVI has announced his retirement. The decision was made public during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, where the Pope gave his address in Latin. Pope Benedict is the first Pope to retire in nearly 600 years – the last one was Pope Gregory XII in 1415. Pope Benedict, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was one of the oldest ever popes to be anointed when he took the post aged 78.
In his announcement Pope Benedict explained, “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.”
“In order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both 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 recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
Many are calling for the next pope to be from Latin America, where approximately 70 per cent of people consider themselves Catholics. Others are suggesting it is time for the first African Pope, with Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana taking the lead on online betting websites (yes, people are betting money online over who the next pope will be).
To find out what others are saying about the decision read the Adelaide Now article Pope Benedict XVI to resign on February 28 because of age, health.
To watch the video visit The Age article Pope Benedict XVI resigns because of failing health.
I am not a Catholic, nor am I a personal fan of Pope Benedict XVI. I think he is dangerously conservative, especially as a thought leader to such a large number of people in this progressive world. So when I say that I think his decision to resign was one of the best he ever made, my motivation may seem obvious.
It is not, however, because I don’t think he should be the Pope. It is because I think he has worked hard for more years than most of us and now, finally, the guy deserves a break. More and more often, older Australians are working harder for longer and I feel it is important to be reminded that it is okay to stop.
Pope Benedict went against 600 years of tradition in order to retire – many popes before him believed that their physical suffering as they approached death was part of the role. I applaud Pope Benedict for realising that others could give sounder spiritual leadership than he and for acknowledging to himself that he is allowed to stop and have a break.
One of the reasons we work is so that one day we won’t have to. Being able to recognise that day and embrace it is something more older Australians should emmulate.
Do you think Pope Benedict is ducking out on his duty? Or has he got the right idea and should the rest of us follow his example? And who would you like to see as the next pope?
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