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Pope To Resign Citing Advanced Age 542

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-for-golf dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "BBC reports that Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month in an unexpected development, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85. In a statement, the pontiff said: '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.' Resignations from the papacy are not unknown, but this is the first in the modern era, which has been marked by pontiffs dying while in office."
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Pope To Resign Citing Advanced Age

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  • Mea Maxima Culpa? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2013 @11:58AM (#42859519)

    Reading between the lines, I think HBO's recent "Mea Maxima Culpa" was probably a significant factor. His resignation will stave off the worst of the public outcry and demands for deeper revelations from the church about the matters raised there. Hopefully the Catholic Church will be pressed about the issues raised regardless, but his specific, key role in it all is the point at the moment.

    To recap what I read elsewhere: prior to being Pope, he was the head of the modern (renamed) Inquisition, assigned there by the previous pope. In that role, he "took charge" of the recent wave of priest sex abuse scandals since the 90s, ordered all evidence be centralized in his department's archives, and then basically hid it all and did little to actually act on the mountains of evidence they still haven't revealed to prosecutors or the public. It's pretty damning stuff.

  • Re:Mea Maxima Culpa? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2013 @12:04PM (#42859625)

    (Funny side-note, my captcha for the above was "Lustful")

    Links relevant to the above:

    http://tinyurl.com/y9wuh4j (wikipedia on Ratzinger's pre-Pope role, long title in URL)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mea_Maxima_Culpa:_Silence_in_the_House_of_God

    http://www.kansascity.com/2013/02/01/4041509/abuse-victims-silent-no-more.html

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/11/13/mea_maxima_culpa_new_doc_exposes

  • Re:Infallible? (Score:3, Informative)

    by kevkingofthesea (2668309) on Monday February 11, 2013 @12:13PM (#42859799)

    Yeah, and there have been very few [wikipedia.org] instances where the Church says the pope spoke infallibly.

  • Re:Infallible? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tnk1 (899206) on Monday February 11, 2013 @12:24PM (#42860009)

    The Infallibility doctrine does not apply to everything he says, just specific items of dogma that are specified, and those are usually fairly non-controversial items to believing Catholics.

    In other words, he's not expected to be perfect as a person, but after having duly deliberated on a matter of doctrine, that doctrine could be designated infallible. It's an authority that only the Pope gets to use, and he won't be Pope after he resigns.

  • Re:What a quitter! (Score:4, Informative)

    by mkoenecke (249261) on Monday February 11, 2013 @12:24PM (#42860013) Homepage
    Actually, one theory is that instead of years they were referring to lunar months for the ages, which makes 900 equal to about 75 years. But what I was taught in theology was the numbers, like many numbers in the Bible, were symbolic, intended to symbolize the deteriorating moral state of Man.
  • by tnk1 (899206) on Monday February 11, 2013 @12:27PM (#42860069)

    If you consider Peter the first pope, it's going on two thousand years, actually. It says something when the last time someone resigned was 600 years ago, which was before Columbus found the New World.

  • Re:Mea Maxima Culpa? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Maow (620678) on Monday February 11, 2013 @01:36PM (#42861241) Journal

    Reading between the lines, I think HBO's recent "Mea Maxima Culpa" was probably a significant factor. His resignation will stave off the worst of the public outcry and demands for deeper revelations from the church about the matters raised there. Hopefully the Catholic Church will be pressed about the issues raised regardless, but his specific, key role in it all is the point at the moment.

    To recap what I read elsewhere: prior to being Pope, he was the head of the modern (renamed) Inquisition, assigned there by the previous pope. In that role, he "took charge" of the recent wave of priest sex abuse scandals since the 90s, ordered all evidence be centralized in his department's archives, and then basically hid it all and did little to actually act on the mountains of evidence they still haven't revealed to prosecutors or the public. It's pretty damning stuff.

    The late, lamented Christopher Hitchens had possibly the ultimate take on the cover-up at Slate.com [slate.com].

    To quote the appropriately entitled "The Great Catholic Cover-Up: The pope's entire career has the stench of evil about it":

    Very much more serious is the role of Joseph Ratzinger, before the church decided to make him supreme leader, in obstructing justice on a global scale. After his promotion to cardinal, he was put in charge of the so-called "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" (formerly known as the Inquisition). In 2001, Pope John Paul II placed this department in charge of the investigation of child rape and torture by Catholic priests. In May of that year, Ratzinger issued a confidential letter to every bishop. In it, he reminded them of the extreme gravity of a certain crime. But that crime was the reporting of the rape and torture. The accusations, intoned Ratzinger, were only treatable within the church's own exclusive jurisdiction. Any sharing of the evidence with legal authorities or the press was utterly forbidden. Charges were to be investigated "in the most secretive way ... restrained by a perpetual silence ... and everyone ... is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office under the penalty of excommunication." (My italics). Nobody has yet been excommunicated for the rape and torture of children, but exposing the offense could get you into serious trouble. And this is the church that warns us against moral relativism! (See, for more on this appalling document, two reports in the London Observer of April 24, 2005, by Jamie Doward.)

  • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Monday February 11, 2013 @01:52PM (#42861503)

    This is news because he is quite possibly the first religious figure to resign short of death, or a war in which thousands die.

  • Re:Too bad... (Score:4, Informative)

    by cusco (717999) <brian.bixby@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Monday February 11, 2013 @01:56PM (#42861559)
    After John-Paul I died (probably by foul play) the Curia made damn sure that they weren't going to get someone like him in charge again for a long time. In other times John-Paul II would probably have revolutionized the Church, but he owed Cardinal Marcinkus and his corrupt cronies for his selection and only appointed ultraconservative cardinals during his entire reign. (In all fairness, considering the demise of his predecessor he may have been operating partly out of fear as well.) The Curia put pressure on more liberal cardinals to resign early as well, enabling their replacement with someone more in line with their own vision. Thus the selection of the head of the Inquisition as the new Pope after John-Paul II's death.
  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Monday February 11, 2013 @02:23PM (#42861993)

    This is news because he is quite possibly the first religious figure to resign short of death, or a war in which thousands die.

    Umm, no.

    He's not even the first Pope to resign. Just the first in "nearly 600 years"....

  • Re:So (Score:4, Informative)

    by tnk1 (899206) on Monday February 11, 2013 @04:30PM (#42864227)

    Yes, Benedict IX was a product of a time where Rome was little more than a city run by families that were, in effect, much like organized gangs. Since, at the time, the election of the Popes was not done by the Cardinals, but by the local nobles of the Rome area, the papacy was basically captive to secular rulers.

    This period is known as saeculum obscurum (the Dark Age), and due to the influence of related females, was also amusingly known also as the Pornocracy.

  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Monday February 11, 2013 @04:57PM (#42864613)

    since I know there is no way to demonstrate the existence of a god, I am, by definition, without a god -- an atheist

    Umm, no. By that definition, you are an agnostic.

    a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

    I am an atheist because I *believe* there is no god, I am also an agnostic because I realize you can't *prove* there is no god.

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