By Danielle Decolli and Federica Simone
On Monday, Pope Benedict XVI announced he will resign at the end of February due to alleged poor health and old age. This marks the first modern era resignation since Pope Gregory XII stepped down from the head of the Catholic Church in 1415.
Pope Benedict at the age of 85 said that his tasks and responsibilities were too grand for his deteriorating body and mind. “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,” said Benedict, according to the Vatican.
This comes as a shock to the Catholic Church, but Benedict has subtlety suggested his retirement through his book. In 2010, Benedict wrote a book titled “Light the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Sign of the Times” where he shared his views on varying Catholic topics. Surprisingly enough Pope Benedict XVI thought it was important to write about the possibility of resigning one day instead of reigning for life. For being committed to the Catholic Church, the quotes directly alluded to the decision and thought of retiring from the prestigious job title. Benedict foreshadowed his retirement almost three years ago by saying, “If a Pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation, to resign.” Benedict in his retirement statement explained how he could not perform the activities due to being physically and psychologically drained. He additionally stated in his book that if he were to resign that he would during a peaceful time or when someone cannot go on. Benedict followed his own words and is leaving at a time where it is quiet in the Catholic Church. Isn’t it shocking though that he was thinking about his views on retirement two years ago? Benedict has had the thoughts of retirement in his mind for at least a couple years.
Although Benedict discusses his views on retirement, he may have just wanted to cover that particular topic. The Catholic Church congregation was shocked by the news, and even more surprising was that the Cardinals did not know Pope Benedict XVI was going to retire. Cardinal Keith O’Brien said, “Like many people throughout the world, I was shocked and saddened to hear of the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to resign. I know that his decision will have been consideredmost carefully and that it has come after much prayer and reflection.” Benedict prayed and reflected a great deal to come to this shocking decision. Perhaps he started his reflection after writing his book.
Regardless if whether Pope Benedict XVI foreshadowed his retirement in his 2010 book or not, the Catholic Church will have a new Pope in the foreseeable future. The Vatican has announced there will be a new Pope by Easter.