The Vatican – Pope Benedict XVI told a crowd of believers in St. Peter’s Square that he’s resigning because God told him to.
Approximately 100,000 pilgrims turned up for the Pope’s final Sunday blessing, reports CBS. With a voice heavy and breaking with emotion, Benedict told believers that he was retiring because God called him to leave the papacy and devote himself to prayer.
He reassured that he’s “not abandoning the church” and said that he will continue to serve in a role “more suitable to my age and my strength.”
The Telegraph reports that the 85-year-old will spend his final years in prayer, meditation and seclusion in a monastery on Vatican City’s grounds.
The Pope’s final Sunday blessing was marked by the cheers of Benedict supporters, as well as signs that read “You are not alone, I’m with you,” and “Grazie.”
Pope Benedict’s official reason for his retirement is his advanced age and waning strength. But it’s a Pope resigning, this doesn’t exactly happen every day. In fact, it hasn’t happened for 600 years. Hence, Benedict’s resignation struck many as odd, with some publications hypothesizing that Benedict is leaving to avoid the backlash of a potential upcoming scandal.
Italian newspapers especially have been filled with unsourced reports of a “secret dossier” which was revealed to Benedict. Upon reviewing it, he basically threw up his hands and decided to let someone else take over, according to the reports.
Are you Catholic? Do you think that Pope Benedict XVI has been a good Pope? Are you looking forward to a new Pope?