Jaws dropped around the world yesterday when Pope Benedict XVI announced he would be resigning from papacy on February 28. The 85-year-old pope cited health complications as an explanation for his nearly unprecedented move, acknowledging that he required “both strength of mind and body” in order to govern a body of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide.“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God,” Benedict said during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday, “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….For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter.”In wake of his resignation, an act deemed “a great liberal gesture” by Reverend Tom Rosica, a Toronto member of a papal council in charge of advising the pope, the newly appointed leader is predicted to be selected mid-March; and will be forced to face controversial issues such as abortion, female ordination, homosexual marriage, and birth control, as well as the wrath of individuals worldwide who aren’t quick to forget the horrific sexual abuse scandals, and view the institution as being more interested in protecting itself than protecting children. The bold move was perceived as wise by some Catholics. “The great fear is that you get a pope who starts to suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s,” said Georgetown University theologian Reverend Tom Reese. “That would be a disaster. We have no way of dealing with that in the church today.”
Among the 18 possible candidates eligible for papacy next month, some of the faces include Cardinal George Pell from Australia, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana, and Canada’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet.
For more information on potential candidates, visit http://goo.gl/g6bAW