Friday, February 22, 2013

Pope Resigns 6,122



Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican's 265th. Pontiff, has turned in his
resignation after 8 years as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church 
effective 8 PM Thursday the 28th. of February, 2013.

Special thanks to the following contributors:  "The New York Times",
"", "Religion News Service (RNS)"
"The Huffington Post", "" and "La Repubblica".

by Felicity Blaze Noodleman
Events which only happen once in a life time are truly rare indeed.  A celestial event of some sort or another like Halley’s Comet which passes by our earth every 75 to 76 years or a historic find such as a new Mark Twain manuscript, his autobiography, which was to be released 100 years after his death.  These kind of events strike us with a certain amount of consternation and impact us with a strong jolt..  Now we hear that Pope Benedict XVI is going to resign.  A Pope of the Roman Catholic Church has not resigned since Pope Gregory XII way back in 1415 AD!  No one has seen this for 598 years! 

The Following article from the "New York Times"  leads us into this weeks article on the news from Rome and the Vatican.

A Statement Rocks Rome, Then Sends Shockwaves Around the World


                                     Photo:  Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Pope Benedict XVI greeted people after celebrating a Mass at
Yankee Stadium in 2008.

"The New York Times"

By RACHEL DONADIO and NICHOLAS KULISH  Published: February 11, 2013

VATICAN CITY — The decision, delivered in Latin and in unemotional tones by Pope Benedict XVI to a gathering of cardinals on Monday, came “like a bolt out of the blue,” one of the participants said, and it soon ricocheted around the world. 

During what was supposed to be a routine meeting to discuss the canonization of three potential saints, Benedict read a statement that said, in part, that after examining his 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 leading the world’s one billion Roman Catholics. He was resigning on Feb. 28, he said, becoming the first pope to do so in six centuries.

“In today’s world,” Benedict said in his announcement, “subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

Within minutes, #Pontifexit was trending on Twitter. Later, during an evening thunderstorm, a lightning bolt struck the dome of St. Peter’s, though the meaning, if any, was not immediately clear.
In recent months, Benedict, 85, had been showing signs of age. He often seemed tired and even appeared to doze off during Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, after being taken to the altar of Saint Peter’s on a wheeled platform. But few expected the pope to resign so suddenly, even though he had said in the past that he would consider the option.

“The pope took us by surprise,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, expounding on one of the most dramatic moments in centuries of Vatican history. He appeared at a hastily called news conference on Monday, where he sat alone at a table, with an unopened bottle of mineral water and a dog-eared copy of a Canon Law guide before him.

Father Lombardi said the pope did not display strong emotions as he made his announcement, but spoke with “great dignity, great concentration and great understanding of the significance of the moment.”
In a statement, President Obama recalled meeting with Benedict in 2009. “I have appreciated our work together over these last four years,” the president said. “The church plays a critical role in the United States and the world, and I wish the best to those who will soon gather to choose His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.”

Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy called Benedict’s decision “immense and unexpected.”
More than a few observers were struck that such a traditionalist as Benedict would make such an unconventional exit. “A departure that is paradoxically modern for a pope who was so conservative,” said Christian Terras, the founder and executive editor of Golias, a religious review near Lyon, France, that has been critical of the Catholic Church.

Some said that Benedict’s decision to step down was one of the most dramatic acts in the history of the papacy. “This decision has been the only great reform of Benedict, and at the same time it is a revolutionary step for the Catholic Church,” said Marco Politi, a Vatican expert and author of a book on Benedict’s papacy. While in past centuries, popes had stepped down over political struggles, Mr. Politi said, “this is a clear decision and a free decision made by the pope that will set an example also for the future, setting a limit for the pontificate.”

Benedict’s 89-year-old brother, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, said that the pope’s weakening health had led him to step down. “His age was taking its toll,” Father Ratzinger told the German news agency DPA on Monday, adding that he had been aware of his brother’s plan for several months.

That the resignation was long in the planning was confirmed by Giovanni Maria Vian, the editor of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, who wrote on Monday that the pope’s decision “was taken many months ago,” after his trip to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012, “and kept with a reserve that no one could violate.”

Father Lombardi said that the pope would retire first to his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, in the hills outside Rome, and later to a monastery in Vatican City.

Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was elected on April 19, 2005. At the time, Benedict was a popular choice within the college of 115 cardinals who chose him as a man who shared — and at times went beyond — the conservative theology of his predecessor and mentor, John Paul II, and seemed ready to take over the job after serving beside him for more than two decades.

The church’s 265th pope, Benedict was the first German to hold the title in half a millennium, and his election was a milestone toward Germany’s spiritual renewal 60 years after World War II and the Holocaust. At 78, he was also the oldest pope to be elected since 1730.

But Benedict was seen as a weak manager, and his papacy was troubled by debilitating scandals, most recently when his butler was convicted by a Vatican court in October of aggravated theft after he admitted stealing confidential documents, many of which wound up in a tell-all book that showed behind-the-scenes Vatican intrigue.

Benedict “centered his papacy on giving faith to Christians, focusing on the essence of what it means to be a Christian, and he managed to do it in spite of the fact that his communicative capacities weren’t so brilliant,” Sandro Magister, a Vatican expert, said. “Most common people, I don’t mean intellectuals, saw him as a disinterested man who spent all his life for a high cause, which was to revive the faith.”

At first blush, criticism was muted for a pope with a controversial term, marred by child-abuse scandals and growing discord over conservative stances on issues like divorce and women in the clergy.

Hans Küng, a theologian and former colleague of Benedict’s who is now one of his most articulate critics, called his decision to step down “understandable for many reasons,” according to the dpa news service, but added that so many conservative cardinals had been named during his tenure, it would be difficult to find someone “who could lead the church out of its multifaceted crisis.”

The strongest criticism came from the victims of clerical sexual abuse, who faulted Benedict for failing to take stronger steps or, in some eyes, any steps at all.

“This pope had a great opportunity to finally address the decades of abuse in the church, but at the end of the day he did nothing but promise everything and in the end he ultimately delivered nothing,” John Kelly, of the support group Survivors of Child Abuse, told Agence France-Presse.

Tom Cronin of Irish Survivors of Institutional Abuse International said that while age and infirmity were given as reasons for the pope’s resignation, he believed the continuing clerical abuse scandal had played a part.
“I don’t think he has been able to deal with it, and it was probably the straw that broke his back,” Mr. Cronin said. “Every day we still get revelations about this priest or that bishop, and maybe he wasn’t young enough to confront it and perhaps, too, he hasn’t been getting the right advice. Whatever the reason, the church hierarchy just hasn’t faced up to the atrocities and their denials and inaction continue to damage them.”

In Rome, where souvenir shops often carry more postcards of John Paul than of Benedict, news of Benedict’s resignation was met with surprise and some sadness. “Anyone could tell that he was old and sick, and that such a complicated situation like the one he has to face is a lot, but I had never heard that a pope could quit,” said Simonetta Piersanti, 52, a cleaning woman in a residence run by nuns.

She mentioned a common Roman saying, “When a pope dies, they just elect another,” which captures the lack of excitement with which Italians greet historic events. “We’ll have to do it even without the death part,” she added.

Rachel Donadio reported from Vatican City, and Nicholas Kulish from Berlin. Reporting was contributed by Alan Cowell in London, Douglas Dalby in Dublin, Doreen Carvajal in Paris, and Elisabetta Povoledo and Gaia Pianigiani in Rome.

"The New York Times"

There have been a total of four Popes who have resigned in the history of the Roman Catholic Church not counting the most recent, Pope Benedict XVI.  There are also other Popes who were driven from the office or deposed.  Since this is such a rare event I have turned to Wikipedia for clarification of this issue.


Papal Resignation 


A papal resignation (Latin: renuntiatio) occurs when the reigning pope of the Roman Catholic Church voluntarily steps down from his position. As the reign of the pope has conventionally been from election until death, papal resignation is an uncommon event; only five popes have unambiguously resigned with historical certainty, all but one between the 11th and 15th centuries. Disputed claims of four previous popes having resigned date between the 3rd and 11th centuries.

Additionally, a few popes during the saeculum obscurum were "deposed," meaning driven from office by force. The history and canonical question here is complicated; generally, the official Vatican list of Popes seems to recognize such "depositions" as valid resignations if the Pope acquiesced, but not if he did not. The later development of canon law has been in favor of papal supremacy, leaving no recourse to remove a pope involuntarily.

On 11 February 2013, Benedict XVI announced his resignation, which is set to take effect on 28 February 2013, 8.00 pm making him the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.

Despite its common usage in discussion of papal resignations the term "abdication" is not used in the official documents of the Church for resignation by a pope.


The Canon Law of the Catholic Church mentions papal resignation in Canon 332, where it states:

If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.
Canon law does not specify any particular individual or body of people to whom the pope must manifest his resignation, but some commentators (notably 18th-century canonist Lucius Ferraris) hold that the College of Cardinals or at least its Dean must be informed, since the cardinals must be absolutely certain that the Pope has renounced the dignity before they can validly proceed to elect a successor.


The Catholic Encyclopedia notes the historically obscure resignations of Pontian (230–235) and Marcellinus (296–308), the historically postulated resignation of Liberius (352–366), and that one (unspecified) catalogue of popes lists John XVIII as resigning office in 1009 and ending his life as a monk.
During the saeculum obscurum several popes were "deposed" or coerced into resignation by political and military force. John X is considered to have been deposed by some, but he seems to have died in prison before his successor Leo VI was elected anyway. And, for example, the story of John XII, Leo VIII, and  

Benedict V. John XII had been invalidly deposed by the Emperor Otto in 963, never renouncing his claim. Leo VIII was set up as an antipope by Otto at this time. However, John XII won back his rightful place in 964. When John XII died in 964, Benedict V was elected. However, Otto wanted Leo VIII put back on the papal throne and, using military might, forced Benedict to abdicate later that same summer; Benedict's resignation is considered valid. Leo VIII is then considered the legitimate Pope until his death in 965, thus having been (at various points in his life) both an antipope and a valid pope.

The first historically unquestionable papal resignation is that of Benedict IX in 1045. Benedict had also previously been deposed by Sylvester III in 1044, and though he returned to take up the office again the next year, the Vatican considers Sylvester III to have been a legitimate pope in the intervening months (meaning that Benedict IX must be considered to have validly resigned by acquiescing to the deposition in 1044). 

Then, in 1045, having regained the papacy for a few months, in order to rid the Church of the scandalous Benedict, Gregory VI gave Benedict "valuable possessions" to resign the papacy in his favour. Gregory himself resigned in 1046 because the arrangement he had entered into with Benedict could have been considered simony. Gregory was followed by Clement II, and when Clement died, Benedict IX returned to be elected to the papacy for a third time, only to resign yet again before dying in a monastery. He thus reigned as Pope for three non-consecutive terms, and resigned (or was deposed) three separate times.

A well-known resignation of a pope is that of Celestine V, in 1294. After only five months of pontificate, he issued a solemn decree declaring it permissible for a pope to resign, and then did so himself. He lived two more years as a hermit and then prisoner of his successor Boniface VIII and was later canonised. Celestine's decree, and Boniface concurring (not revoking it), ended any doubt among canonists about the possibility of a valid papal resignation.

Gregory XII (1406–1415) resigned in 1415 in order to end the Western Schism, which had reached the point where there were three claimants to the papal throne: Roman Pope Gregory XII, Avignon Antipope Benedict XIII, and Pisan Antipope John XXIII. Before resigning, he formally convened the already existing Council of Constance and authorized it to elect his successor.
On 11 February 2013, the Vatican announced that Benedict XVI would resign on 28 February, due to infirmity from advanced age.


Pope John Paul II preceded Pope Benedict XVI and died at the age of 84.  John Paul II was the second longest surviving Pope having served since 1978 until his death in 2005.  This has been the tradition for Popes since 1415.  To say that Benedict’s XVI is history in the making is an understatement at the very least and his name will be remembered in the Churches history.

Soon the College of Cardinals will assemble in Rome to select a new Pontiff as they are guided by the Holy Spirit with their selection for a new Bishop of Rome.  They will be meeting in the Sistine Chapel within 10 days following  28 February to carry out this duty.  Next we turn to an article from RNS "Religious News Service"  for further information concerning this phenomenal event.

Who Runs The Vatican After The Pope Steps Down?

                                                                         Photo:  Rene Shaw
Dome of St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

"RNS"  (Religion News Service)"

Alessandro Speciale | Feb 18, 2013

VATICAN CITY (RNS – Religion News Service) As of 8 p.m. on Feb. 28, Pope Benedict XVI will no longer be pope and the Vatican will go into “sede vacante” mode — a Latin expression that means that the seat of St. Peter is vacant.

So who’s in charge until a new pope is chosen? The “interregnum” between two popes is governed by ancient rituals and by institutions half forgotten even within the Vatican.

But it is also the only time that the Catholic Church comes close to vaguely resembling a democracy, with the College of Cardinals acting somewhat like a Parliament with limited powers as it prepares to choose the new pontiff in a closed-doors conclave.

According to Universi Dominici Gregis — a 1996 document by John Paul II that regulates what happens between the death or resignation of a pope and the election of his successor — during the “sede vacante” period all the heads of Vatican departments “cease to exercise their office,” with few exceptions.

The only officials to remain in their posts are the vicar of Rome, who continues to provide for the pastoral needs of Romans, and the major penitentiary, the official who grants absolutions and dispensations.
This means that as of 8:01 p.m. on Feb. 28, the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, will also lose the post that’s the rough equivalent of a prime minister.

But Bertone holds another post that plays a key role during the the interregnum: camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.

The camerlengo, together with the Apostolic Chamber (an office dating back to the Middle Ages that once acted as the papacy’s treasury), runs the Vatican state and is in charge of the church’s property and money in the absence of the pope.

In preparation for his resignation, Benedict on Feb. 13 appointed Archbishop Giuseppe Sciacca, the deputy governor of the Vatican City State, as auditor general of the Apostolic Chamber, a position that had been vacant since 2010.

Sciacca will act as a sort of legal adviser to the camerlengo and to the vice camerlengo, retired Italian Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano presents the papal fisherman ring to Pope Benedict XVI at the new pope’s installation Mass. The fisherman’s ring bears an image of Peter, his boat and his net, which figure in two Gospel accounts of miraculous catches of fish. Benedict said that while fish die when removed from the sea, “in the mission of a fisher of men the reverse is true.” Photo by Grzegorz Galazka.

During the period between popes, the dean of the College of Cardinals (currently Cardinal Angelo Sodano, a former secretary of state under Pope John Paul II) presides at the daily meetings, or congregations, of the cardinals that effectively run the church on an interim basis. But as Sodano is over 80, and so won’t have the right to vote in the conclave, his place will be taken by the most senior member of the College of Cardinals, Giovanni Battista Re, a former head of the Vatican’s department for bishops.

Bertone, the camerlengo, presides at smaller meetings of a select group of cardinals, chosen by lot every three days, that deal with lesser issues.

The power of the assembly of cardinals is limited. According to John Paul’s 1996 instructions, it “has no power or jurisdiction in matters which pertain to the Supreme Pontiff during his lifetime or in the exercise of his office.”

Its sole task, in fact, is to “dispatch of ordinary business and of matters which cannot be postponed” and to prepare the conclave that will elect the next pope.

In the daily congregations, which must be attended by all cardinals of voting age (under 80) who have already arrived in Rome, cardinals decide by majority vote.

Once the conclave elects the new pope and he accepts, governance of the Vatican returns to the pope’s hands.

"RNS (Religion News Service)"

Now this brings us up to date on the official story from the Vatican.  Is there more to the story?  Will the plot thicken?  "The Huffington Post" has been running a series of articles indicating foul play is afoot in Rome . . . and well, you'll have to read one of the latest article by Michael D'Antonio, just posted in the "Post" and decide for yourself!

Immunity for Rome's Rottweiler: Why The Pope Resigned

By Michael D'Antonio 

Author, Mortal Sins, Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal

"The Huffington Post"

Posted: 02/19/2013 10:10 am

Benedict XVI is enjoying, from some, a warm and generous farewell as he vacates the papal throne for a quieter life behind the walls of the Vatican, but the context of his resignation -- the first by a pope in roughly 600 years -- is shadowy and cold. This is, after all, the man who long acted as Rome's "Rottweiler" to punish loyal dissenters and who remains the subject of a "crimes against humanity" claim before the International Criminal Court. For him, seclusion in a Vatican convent provides a way to evade responsibility for his central role in protecting thousands of priests who raped children around the world.

The systemic and international nature of the long running sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church was illustrated quite starkly when victims from around the world climbed the steps to the courthouse in the Hague carrying boxes holding 20,000 pages of evidence linking the cover-up of these crimes to the highest officials in the Vatican. Their claim, filed in September 2011, argues that the Vatican state enabled thousands of crimes against children and a cover-up that allowed priest rapists to evade civil authorities.

Formerly Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, Benedict was at the center of the Church response to clergy sex abuse throughout the scandal, first as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the Inquisition) and, since 2005, as pope. In recent years has has apologized and met with representative victims. However he has never offered them the justice that comes with full disclosure of the facts, or acknowledgement of his own responsibility. Instead he has continued to favor the privileges of clergy and refused to participate in a genuine consideration of the ways Rome's medieval approach to governance and morality set the conditions for abuse.

The hierarchy's penchant for privilege was noted by a Vatican source in a Reuters report on Benedict's decision to resign and live-out his life in the shelter of the papal state's tiny autonomous district. "His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless," the source told the news agency. "He wouldn't have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else." The same source noted that the protection provided by the sovereign status of the Vatican was necessary to provide Benedict a "dignified existence."

Of course, the dignity of the men and women who were brutalized as children by Catholic priests received too little consideration from Benedict/Ratzinger when he held the power to offer them true justice. Priest abusers were spirited away from the reach of police and prosecutors. Hierarchs who practiced cover-ups were rewarded with cushy jobs. Victims were stonewalled.

Between now and Feb. 28, when Benedict formally leaves office, generous observers will reach for reasons to praise or defend him. Ross Douthat of the New York Times wrote that he was "scapegoated" for the abuse scandal. Crowds of tourists at the Vatican are already chanting "viva il papa," and the Church public relations machine is working overtime to persuade the world that a humble Benedict made his stunning decision because he was old and tired and the faithful deserved better.

The stated reasons for the Pope's abdication must be part of the story, but they are the least relevant elements. More significant is the evidence linking crimes to the Vatican. In the abuse scandal, all roads do lead to Rome. By stepping down now, and allowing for someone untouched by the cover-up scheme to take his place, Benedict can save the papacy from a direct confrontation with criminal authorities. His choice is the perfect one for a man who reached the highest point in the clerical culture of privilege. 

"The Huffington Post"

Now that really brings us up to date.  Some how I don't feel we have heard the last on Pope Benedict XVI.  Today; Feb. 22, 2013 "" is reporting that the Italian news paper "La Repubblica" is announcing a homosexual scandal at the Vatican and is the reason for Benedict's XVI resignation.  

I honestly have to say that Roman Catholics have my sympathy.  They have had to endure too much bad news from their Church leaders.  This is Felicity and I think this is still the Noodleman Group.  We'll be closing with some photos from Benedict XVI's career.

                                                                         Pierre-Philippe Marcou/Agence France-Presse
He led the Rosary at the Chapel of the Apparitions in Portugalin May 2010.

                 L’Osservatore Romano, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Leaving a meeting at the Vatican on Monday, when he announced
he would resign.

                                    Vincenzo Pinto/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Bishops helped the pope as he celebrated Christmas Eve Mass in
Vatican City last year.

                                                        Associated Press
Pope John Paul II, left, with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, in 1979.

                              L’Osservatore Romano, via European Pressphoto Agency
The pope asked for forgiveness as he announced his resignation,
effective Feb. 28.


                                                                 Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Joseph Ratzinger, top right, with his family in Freising in Bavaria,
after his ordination in 1951.

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