THE POPE LEAVES THE PONTIFICATE
Ratzinger asked for a conclave to elect a successor.
The unexpected news spread quickly around the world and has left everyone speechless.
The Pope leaves the pontificate later this month.
The announcement was made personally today, in Latin, during the consistory for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto. Benedict XVI explained to feel the weight of the assignment, that have long pondered this decision and taking it for the good of the Church. The decision was confirmed by the Vatican.
Joseph Ratzinger, was born April 16, 1927, was elected pope by the Conclave April 19, 2005, after the death of John Paul II.
“Certainty that the forces do not allow me to continue. After repeatedly examined my conscience before God I have come to the certainty that my strength, advanced age (“ingravescentem aetatem”), are no longer fit to exercise properly the Petrine ministry. Well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom, declare to give up to the ministry of the Bishop of Rome”, the Successor of St. Peter, entrusted to me by the hand of Cardinals April 19, 2005.”
These is the talk that the Pope would told the cardinals, in today’s Consistory. He will give up his ministry at 20.00 on February 28, when it will begin the ‘vacant’ period. An announcement virtually unprecedented in the history of the Catholic Church or very rare.
Before him, a few other popes resigned: the famous case of Celestine V (between 1209 and 1215), Clement I (from 88 to 97) and Gregory XII (1326-1417).
According to the Code of Canon Law, the Pope can give up his mandate in a free manner. So reads the second paragraph of canon 332:
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