Pope Benedict XVI is retiring tomorrow, February 28. Pope Benedict made his last Vatican address from St. Peter’s Square, bidding farewell to over 150,000 faithful followers in the Catholic Church.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Pope Benedict XVI made the stunning announcement of his retirement earlier this month. Pope Benedict has cited his ailing health as the impetus for the decision, which includes a secretly installed pacemaker and potential blindness in one eye. Some papal secrets were revealed after the retirement plans were made public, but others people believe corruption allegations like the Catholic Church sex scandal is the real reason Pope Benedict is resigning.
According to CBS News, Pope Benedict explained once again why he was becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign and he urged the faithful to pray for his successor:
“To love the church means also to have the courage to take difficult, painful decisions, always keeping the good of the church in mind, not oneself. It’s a great burden that you’ve placed on my shoulders. I have had moments of joy and light, but also moments that haven’t been easy … moments of turbulent seas and rough winds.”
Pope Benedict will meet Thursday morning with cardinals for a final time, then fly by helicopter to the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome where he will spend his retirement. Pope Benedict is only expected to make brief remarks to the press upon arriving.
CNN explains that the next pope will be elected by the College of Cardinals faster than usual. The last pope to resign was over 600 years ago, so normally the Catholic Church would wait for 15 to 20 days after a pope’s death, but in this case Pope Benedict has amended the 500 year old policies on pope selection so that they might be able to choose the next pope by March 15.
People have already pointed out to the lack of diversity in Rome, and some even say an American pope is a possibility. As Pope Benedict XVI retires via his resignation, who do you think should be the next pope?