News Flash: Non habemus papam—Pope Benedict resigns because of infirmity.

This is not a joke: according to the Guardian and other sources like the BBC, Ratzi—Pope Benedict XVI—is to step down on February 28. That’s 17 days from now. He is 85 years old.

Here’s the full text of the pope’s statement from Vatican Radio.

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonisations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my 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 the Petrine ministry.

I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, 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 Saint 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 recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.

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 Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

BENEDICTUS PP XVI

This is the first time any pope has resigned since 1415 (Pope Gregory XII).

This happened only half an hour ago and I have no more news, but the Guardian is continually updating coverage on its website.

Now what happens to a retired pope?

h/t: Martin

151 Comments

  1. spud2006
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    I’m only disappointed that they’ll just go and elect another one.

    • lamacher
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      And one at least as rigid and conservative as Ratzi – else how can they avoid a major dust-up?

  2. Graham Martin-Royle
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    When he’s retired, does that mean he loses his diplomatic immunity and can be sued?

    • Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:33 am | Permalink

      More like arrest him, hopefully.

      • Posted February 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        That’s probably why he plans to live out his life holed up in the Vatican, rather out in some spacious, gracious Tuscan villa with gardens and fountains and distant vistas.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Geoffrey Robertson, QC, has just pointed out on BBC Newsnight that as he is no longer a head of “state”, he is no longer immune from prosecution, as you suggest. It is therefore possible for people who suffered abuse at the hands of priests whom he refused, in his previous role, to hand over to the police, could raise legal actions against him. That could be interesting, and indeed in my view wholly appropriate.

      • Dermot C
        Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Didn’t see Robertson.

        But wouldn’t Benedict’s position be similar to Pinochet’s when they tried to do him for massacring his own (they should have chucked monetarism on to the charge sheet while they were at it). And didn’t Pinochet never stand trial? Wasn’t the defence that he was too ill to stand trial?

        Wouldn’t the Pope take the same defence? Is there a legal expert out there who can run through the possibilities? This could be the trial of the century, to lapse into journalese.

        • gbjames
          Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          Irish betting site is including Richard Dawkins in the running. Odds: 666 to 1. Seems about right.

          http://www.paddypower.com/bet/novelty-betting/current-affairs/pope-betting

          • gbjames
            Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

            ack… that was supposed to be a comment at the bottom, not to Dermot C.

        • Nick Evans
          Posted February 12, 2013 at 6:05 am | Permalink

          Pinochet *could* have been tried for those acts, because they were criminal when committed by states too (e.g., states can’t lawfully commit genocide, so the head of state can’t rely on immunity for ordering genocide). However, he was found to be too old and infirm to stand trial anyway.

      • Nick Evans
        Posted February 12, 2013 at 6:04 am | Permalink

        He would remain immune from prosecution for any acts that he committed *as* head of state, though, wouldn’t he?

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted February 12, 2013 at 6:20 am | Permalink

          I don’t know; what I want to see is prosecution for the cover-ups he carried out as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

          • Chris
            Posted February 12, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

            This, pretty much. He had a lot of dubious stuff pass across his desk before he was made pope.

  3. Justicar
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    I suspect twitter is what wore him down.

    • Brian
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      +1

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 11, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        LOL.

  4. Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    I wrote this three years ago: Pope comes out as deep-cover atheist

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted February 12, 2013 at 4:57 am | Permalink

      Nice one, David. Over at J&M this prediction by Acolyte of Sagan has resurfaced:

      Acolyte of Sagan says:
      February 12, 2013 at 10:00 am
      Without wishing to brag, I think I may have definitive proof of my own powers of divination. For evidence, I give you the following, a post I left at the old RD.net site three years ago. As with all prophecy I wasn’t 100% accurate, but exchange the idea of his death with his resignation and I think you’ll agree I wasn’t far short of the mark.
      Conspiracy theory anyone?
      The Vatican, pre-2005. A small but influential group of cardinals are becoming increasingly horrified by what is happening within the church, but dare not speak out for the fear of reprisals from within, so instead they begin to formulate a plan.
      “What if” says one of them, “when John-Paul II finally gets his promotion to the side of God, we canvas strongly for his replacement to be one who can help sort this stinking mess out.
      “What we need is a cardinal, preferably one who has a skeleton or two in the closet, who is of advanced age. Once in place, we start to leak stories to the press little by little until legal action can no longer be avoided. The law moves in and all of those who have brought shame on the church are both removed from the Church AND prosecuted along with those who are helping to keep their crimes under wraps. With a bit of luck, if we elect a Pope who is very old then the strain of the scandal, especially if he can be accused of involvement himself, might just finish him off.
      “This way, we can then go before the public and tell them that not only have we publicly cleared the Church of of abusers, but the last link to them is dead. Corruption may have crept into the heart of the Church, but that corruption is dead and buried, and the Church can go forward stronger than ever”!
      “That should work” says another, “the rank and file will be desperate to see that God has not forsaken them”.
      “Agreed” says a third cardinal, “and I’ve been hearing some unsavoury rumours about that German fellow Ratzy; he’s getting on a bit too, and he’s held in high regard by John Paul himself. I’ll do a bit of discreet digging around and see what dirt I can find”.
      Fast forward to April 2005, and as a wisp of white smoke issues from a special chimney at the Vatican, a small group of influential cardinals are quietly congratulating themselves on their foresight and effective canvassing.
      “Right-ho, that’s stage one accomplished” says one, “we’ve got a 79 year old pederast apologist in the hot-seat, now who do we have in the media that we can trust”……..
      Monday, 26 April 2010 at 1:41 AM | #462885
      Now get on your knees and worship me!

  5. Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    A retired pope will be praying!

  6. Filippo
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    “Now what happens to a retired pope.”

    A la politicos, give speeches to various chambers of commerce for a handsome fee?

    • Dominic
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:48 am | Permalink

      That last time a pope resigned was in the schism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Schism

      • Dominic
        Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:53 am | Permalink

        Didn’t realize there were three popes then!

    • Marella
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:07 am | Permalink

      Retired popes usually go and live in a monastery in the mountains.

  7. BillyJoe
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    Actually most Catholics will be celebrating this news. They can’t wait to see the end of the old fart. The college of cardinala will simply have to elect a progressive pope this time around in order to avoid the mass exodus of all reasonable minded Catholics. They won’t suffer another failure like Ratszig.

    • godsbelow
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:19 am | Permalink

      Or the cardinals will recall that their congregations are larger, indeed still growing, in the so-called developing world, where Catholic conservatism earns more converts than liberalism.

      Perhaps we’re about to see the world’s first non-European pope.

      • godsbelow
        Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:23 am | Permalink

        The Guardian website suggests this guy’s a contender: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Turkson

        • Kieran
          Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:31 am | Permalink

          It’s going to be another conservative, they elect from within and you don’t end up a cardinal unless you tow the party line. Some exceptions but they don’t have a snowballs chance in hell of winning this particular political game.

        • Posted February 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          And from (excuse me) Wikipedia:

          “HIV/AIDS and condoms

          In 2009, [Turkson] reaffirmed the Catholic social teaching on contraception, in regard to statements made by Pope Benedict XVI that condoms were not a solution to Africa’s AIDS crisis and were taken out of context by the media. Turkson did not rule out condoms in all circumstances suggesting they could be useful in the situation of a married, faithful couple where one partner is infected; although he warns that, as the quality of condoms in Africa is poor, their use could engender false confidence. He said abstinence, fidelity, and refraining from sex if infected were the key to fighting the epidemic. He also believes that the money being spent on condoms would be better spent providing anti-retroviral drugs to those already infected.”

    • steve oberski
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      The only type of reasonable minded catholic is one who has left.

    • Alektorophile
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Not sure about the next one being a progressive pope. Chasing after the overwhelmingly liberal western catholics who more and more ignore anything said in Rome (vis-à-vis contraception, gay rights, and so on) is a losing proposition, and they know it. Kind of like closing the barn doors after the flock has already escaped. They might go for a more fundamentalist candidate, perhaps an African or Latin American cardinal, where the catholic church still has quite a lot of power and authority and room to grow (at least in Africa) and where the old fire & brimstone style church still is rather popular.

      • gbjames
        Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:57 am | Permalink

        This is almost certainly to be the case. The chance that the Cardinals will go for a progressive pope is near zero.

    • raven
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Probably not.

      It can always get worse. It frequently does get worse.

      The next Pope is more likely to make Ratzinger look like a moderate as anything.

      There has been a struggle between moderate and fundie Cardinals for centuries. The moderates have lost the vast majority of the time.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      The college of cardinala will simply have to elect a progressive pope this time around . . .

      Not according to the AP:

      The move allows for a fast-track conclave to elect a new pope, since the traditional nine days of mourning that would follow a pope’s death doesn’t have to be observed. It also gives the 85-year-old Benedict great sway over the choice of his successor. Though he will not himself vote, he has hand-picked the bulk of the College of Cardinals — the princes of the church who will elect his successor — to guarantee his conservative legacy and ensure an orthodox future for the church.

  8. Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    This may sound shallow, but … hopefully, the next guy won’t look like a demon.

    • Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:59 am | Permalink

      Who knows, they might pick someone who’s not a Nazi with a history of covering up child rape. If they can find any.

    • Dermot C
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:49 am | Permalink

      @ CHristoClochard.

      In fairness to the bloke, I thought I saw signs of early onset Alzheimer’s in his progressively jowly and proto-sinister demeanour. I ain’t no expert, however. Still you suspect a lot of euphemism in his resignation statement, particularly in the references to his deteriorating health. Maybe he knows the diagnosis. Then again, this could all be speculation.

      • Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:51 am | Permalink

        I can totally appreciate that. I admittedly made a cheap comment. Was feeling cheap.

        • Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          No need to apologize, ChristoC…my reaction to this STUNNING (evidently, judging from the Media coverage blitz) development of the pope retiring is: >Yawn<

      • X marks the spot
        Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        Early onset? Seriously; Pope Indulgence is 85 years old, and was 77 when his papacy began. If he was suffering from Alzheimer’s or any other kind of dementia, there would be no need to label it early onset.

        • Dermot C
          Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          Yeah, I meant early stage; the lion-face and all that.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 11, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Alzheimer’s was the first thing I thought of, but I did not realize there were such visual clues.

        • Dermot C
          Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Me dad got it; and yes, the lion-face is there. Dad’s face started to ‘hang’ and I thought I saw the same in the Pope, especially over the last year or so. But I underline, Diane, I AM speculating; I’ve heard Parkinson’s mentioned re: Benedict.

          • Dermot C
            Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

            @ ChristoClochard

            btw, I wasn’t having a go at you re: your ‘demon’ comment and I didn’t want you to feel bad.

  9. Rain
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    “With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.”

    That should help out the Holy Church of God a lot. Especially considering his former popeness status. Pope prayers can do a lot of stuff, you know. Very powerful stuff.

    • Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Right! As if his life before resignation was not already drenched in prayer, dripping with perspiration born from grovelling on bended knee–well in his case, more like sulking in his velvet, golden throne–and well saturated with votive chants.

      Perhaps, in that twisted world of the pathetic Petrine perspective, a resigned pope’s prayers are more potent? Comings from lips that will know soon the precious presence of the divine beloved? Instead of Ratty making up for lost time and visiting every brothel in the world? :-)

      I have my doubts that this obviously decrepit guy is capable of composing such a missive on his own. And, good riddance, old chap. Soon your bones will be rotting along with countless others, you misguided, puffed up fool.

      And as for his equally foolish replacement, you will unrelentingly get lampooned also. Something to look forward to…

      Note well the use of Dear Brothers in Ratty’s salulation–the most infamous boys’ club of them all.

      • Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:43 am | Permalink

        When you get old, verbal ability often sticks around longer than any other mental capacity, and this was written pretty much entirely in duckspeak so wouldn’t have required more than the spinal column.

        • Posted February 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          Duckspeak, as in talking out of his Anas?

          • Diane G.
            Posted February 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

            Good one! :D

    • steve oberski
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      The more time praying the less time promulgating evil.

      • Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        I wouldn’t be so sure of that. I wager that it’s when praying that the most evil shit pops into their heads, which they then take as an answer from God.

  10. Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    I wonder if there is more to it than meets the eye. Maybe some new scandal that points straight to him, and he is getting out now before it breaks?

    • Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:00 am | Permalink

      He found an even worse replacement?

    • Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      Maybe he’s tired of selling what he won’t buy.

    • Sajanas
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      I wondered the same, since they just released a huge pile of documents from LA, and there are sex abuse commissions starting in Australia and controversy over an ongoing one in Germany. Its also entirely possible that the whole scandal with the Vatican bank and the documents released by his butler may have left him feeling isolated.

  11. Stackpole
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    Awww…

    No more eggs benedict jokes.

    (Or maybe hooray!)

    • Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:03 am | Permalink

      I think you’ll find he’s now an ex-Benedict (gotta have one for the road!)

  12. Marella
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    Fascinating, he must think the church is better off without him. Remarkably honest for a pope.

  13. Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    What happens to a retired Pope? Why, he goes off to live in a retirement home in Jackson, Mississippi.

  14. shazam
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Well, I for one am glad that after his resignation there will be one less infallible person on this earth.

    Also, he’s a closet atheist for sure…

    Only a shame that he’s a child-rape apologist atheist.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      I ask pardon for all my defects.

      Yes, what happened to infallibility there?

  15. Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    You name the next pope contest:

    http://www.paleolibrarian.info/2013/02/you-name-next-pope-contest.html

    Enjoy!

    • X marks the spot
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure it wont be Benedict XVII. The next one won’t want to ride on his coattails.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Hmmm, there have been enough Leos…maybe Scar?

      • Sarah
        Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        How about Dwayne?

      • gbjames
        Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Guido, as in Father Guido Sarducci.

  16. Sarah
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    He’s throne it all away and left the church all at see! You’d think he mitre given them more advance warning. But his mind’s made up and he won’t wafer or altar his decision.

    • Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      +1

      though groan-worthy…

    • Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I wish you’d censer yourself the next time you feel urge to pun like that. …this kind of myrrth gets me incensed, frankly.

      • Sarah
        Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Mea culpa runneth over.

    • ksmatharu
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink
    • Marta
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Benedict was too pooped to pope.

      Sorry. Someone has to state the obvious.

  17. gbjames
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    As for me, I took this news an an opportunity to go re-listen to Tim Minchin’s Pope Song.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTIorwtJbhE

  18. Dennis Hansen
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Pope, 85, resigns. Attenborough, 86, still going strong. Science & nature FTW.

    • Chris
      Posted February 12, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      + Pi

  19. Kris Larner
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Royalty & Religious leaders are embracing this stepping down lark. I can see Charlie waving the newspaper under his mothers nose right now!

    • lamacher
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      +2

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      First person I want to see step down in that family would be Charlie. Useless piece of woo-laden baggage.

    • Marella
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      It is obviously clear to even an Alzheimer’s ridden old pope that the church is better off without him, but it just as clear that the monarchy would not be better off without EII. I’m sure all the establishment lie awake at night in fear of her demise. Anything could happen with Charles at the helm.

  20. steve oberski
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Dear Brothers,

    Pretty much sums up a vile misogynistic leader of a vile misogynistic organization.

  21. Mattapult
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    but but but… Noah was in his 500’s when he built the ark. The Pope is a young 85. It’s not like he is doing any manual labor.

  22. Pete UK
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Pope says St. Peter is barking…..

  23. Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Retiring at only 85? Christopher Lee is 91, and that doesn’t stop him from being FUCKING AWESOME.

  24. alexandra
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    The pope will retire to a monastery with hot and cold running cardinals and monks waiting upon him, eventually will die and have a whiz bang funeral, become a saint, and like all other popes, achieve irrelevancy.
    Ps:
    NPR, awestruck, announced the news over and over with their usual MOnday so-called correspondent, a catholic….fairness in media?????

  25. X marks the spot
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Pope gives up papacy for Lent.

    • Schenck
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      The above comment deserves special recognition. Fantastic.

  26. jamesgart
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    We do need a progressive Pope!!!!!

    • gbjames
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      I think those two words are incompatible.

      • jamesgart
        Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        If that is true it’s very sad!

        • gbjames
          Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

          Given that popes are leaders of a theocratic institution that is little changed since the Middle Ages, and given that popes are elected by a group of old men who have themselves been chosen for their obedience institutional tradition, and given that this collection of old men was selected by old Ratzi himself, the chances of a “progressive” pope approximate zero.

          • lamacher
            Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

            John-Paul XXIII was one such, strenuously opposed by much of the Curia all of his term. John VI, likely to have been equally progressive, probably was murdered by the inner mafia in the Vatican. Oh yeah – hope for nothing!

            • St. Augustine
              Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

              Perhaps you mean John XXIII and John Paul I, respectively.
              There is no John Paul XXIII, and John VI was pope 1300 years ago and does not seem to have been especially progressive.

      • jamesgart
        Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        If that is true it’s very sad!

    • Occam
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      ‘Progressive’ is not per se positive:
      paralysis can be progressive, too.

  27. Alektorophile
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    What does a retired pope do? Well, in his case, I hear they’re making some new Star Wars movies. He’d make a really good evil emperor, he had years of practice after all. And given that he is catholic clergy, they could easily retain the old one’s name, as “Palpate-a-teen” does seem like an apt name.

  28. Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Nice evidence that the bible is still full of BS. I guess that the claim that “13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.” – James 5 is a complete lie.

    oh and does this mean that we have another failed prophecy? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophecy_of_the_Popes

  29. David T.
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Phil. 4:13
    “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” — apparently not ALL things….

  30. Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I’m guessing the reason Popes die in office is so they don’t revert back to being mere mortals in the eyes of revering billions and can go on and become saints or whatever. How are those followers going to treat him now? I suspect he won’t be long on this earth or that could go horribly wrong for them, but would help the anti-religious cause by showing them all he’s just a man, nothing more.

  31. marycanada FCD
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    See ya Joey…enjoy the big fat pension

  32. raven
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Now what happens to a retired pope?

    They usually part them out for relics. Hopefully, they will at least let this one die first.

    One of the weirder Catholic beliefs is that dead bodies have magic powers. Their institutions and churches are full of “saints relics”, bones of long dead people (and probably a few animals) that are supposed to do miraculous things.

    From this, we know that jesus had 17 penises, the number of jesus foreskins at one time in RCC churches.

    • Draken
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      And from the gathered splinters from his cross we could easily rebuild all the world’s cathedrals.

  33. Gary W
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    It could get ugly

  34. rodgerma
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    “Dear brothers”
    There are no sisters in that cult.
    Just like in the Muslim Brotherhood and most other religious man-clubs.

    Which makes me want to ask the women in these ancient mindsets to step up and say;

    “Stop the nonsense. Let me off!”

    • Schenck
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      FWIW, it says ‘brothers’ because it’s addressed to the college of cardinals, which are all male, NOT that it’s addressed to all catholics and is excluding women.

  35. Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    More precisely, “Non habebimus papam”; resignation isn’t effective until the end of the month.

  36. Sajanas
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I for one, am really sad that all these world leaders are being so generous. Some rabbi was on the BBC talking about how good he’s been for relations to Jews and Muslims. Really! The guy that caused global outrage by reinstating the prayers for the conversion of Jews, and who outraged Muslims with a poorly thought out quotation. That David Cameron, while pushing for gay marriage, should laud the guy that claims that gay marriage is a threat civilization is just sad. That Angela Merkel should salute someone who is steadfast in his refusal to accept that her second marriage is valuable, or own up to the huge sex abuse coverup in her country.

    Ratzinger’s whole Papacy has been one long string of failures… and I wish that the reporting reflected that.

  37. Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I found the description and the titles in the penultimate paragraph both odious and laughable. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, these men are people who feel disillusioned at the reality that the world of Harry Potter does not exist, so they play dress-up, give themselves fancy names, and then try to imbue themselves with mystical power by espousing the most regressive nonsense that they can currently get away with.

  38. alexandra
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    February 11, 2013
    SHARE TWEET FORWARD

    Pope’s Decision to Come Out of Retirement Stirs Controversy
    VATICAN (The Borowitz Report)—Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world for the second time in twenty-four hours today by announcing his decision to come out of retirement.

    Read more at newyorker.com.

  39. Don Quijote
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Out of retirement and world tour coming up.

  40. pilgrimpater
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Infirmity? Surely he’s heard of Viagra.

  41. Sunny
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    So Jesus did not bless the Pope with good health. I am sure the Pope prayed for it. If Jesus cannot help the Pope whom is he willing to help?

  42. Charles Jones
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    When Pope Celestine V resigned, he was captured and imprisoned by his successor, Pope Boniface VIII. There he was kept in such foul conditions that he died after 10 months. A hole in Celestine’s skull suggests to some historians that Boniface VIII actually had him murdered.

    The Church loves to follow tradition, and this is one tradition they should certainly follow!

    • cornbread_r2
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Catholic gadfly, historian, former priest, atheist and Ingersall contemporary, Joseph McCabe, claims that cardinals critical of Celestine V impersonated the voice of God in getting Celestine V to resign. According to McCabe, the cardinals somehow rigged a megaphone or similar device to pipe that message into the pope’s bedroom and he resigned the next day. Celestine was a tragic figure.

  43. Jim Jones
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Ex Benedict.

    • @eightyc
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      lol.

  44. @eightyc
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Does this mean i’m more catholic than the pope? lolz.

  45. jamesgart
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    This should not come as a shock. He is too old anyway. People in other professions usually retire much earlier. . They should have cut off age for someone to be a Pope. Nobody over 69 should be a Pope.

    • Occam
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      The last phrase is all too easily, if perhaps appropriately, misread as:
      “Nobody should be over a Pope in a 69.”

  46. cornbread_r2
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Benedict may be trying to avoid what happened to his predecessor. Apparently, towards the end of JPII’s reign, they would wheel him out each day, despite being completely out of it, just so dignitaries could get photos with him.

    • Sarah
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      I was thinking this, too. He would have seen this up close and not wanted it for himself. A very doddery old guy is not a good image for the Church.

    • RFW
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      Same kind of thing has happened in the LDS church, where the oldest of the “First Presidency” succeeds to the post of “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator”, and stays in it until he dies.

      Within living memory, at least one PS&R was completely ga-ga in his last years and was never dressed in anything more formal than a sweat suit and Depends™. Or so the story goes.

  47. cornbread_r2
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    If cardinals over the age of 80 can be prohibited from voting on a new pope under the presumption of diminished mental capacity (and they are), then I don’t see how any pope can justify staying in that job beyond that age.

    • Achrachno
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps popes are not that reasonable.

  48. DV
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    >>with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome<<

    Hah! He said full freedom. :)

    Does this mean he thinks he could have done otherwise? Or does this mean nobody put a gun to his head?

    • RFW
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      It’s stated that way so it unquestionably conforms to the requirements laid down for papal resignations.

      Yes, it means nobody put a gun to his head. Supposedly!

  49. neil
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    When Ratzi retires, will he be ex-Benedict?

    Sorry for the bad pun.

    • neil
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Ooops. Beat to the punch.

  50. Posted February 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    The last German emperor has resigned. HALLELUJA!

    I recommend marking the occasion with a nice bottle of Spätlese Riesling and the movie “Habemus Papam” (“We have a pope”) by Nanni Moretti – you will never forget you first watched this beautiful, fun film today of all days!

    • Posted February 12, 2013 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      a truly excellent film. Quite funny. thanks.

      youtube links for the film, 5 parts, Italian, dubbed in English: preface these bits with
      “www.youtube.com/”

      watch?v=E7KqXzoKvfA

      watch?v=80kqi3lRG6g

      watch?v=Qvd4wvMRIRU

      watch?v=9N0g4mdVKWI

      watch?v=3_Cx6TTd2fI

    • Ludo
      Posted February 12, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink

      Indeed a splendid film, with Michel Piccoli as a brilliant pope! And certainly a must for anyone who wishes to become one!
      <a href="http://www.imdb.com/rg/s/4/title/tt1456472/#lb-vi2910298393"See trailer

    • gbjames
      Posted February 12, 2013 at 5:33 am | Permalink

      We didn’t have any Spätlese Riesling at home, but NetFlix does have “We have a pope” available, so my wife and I watched it last night. An fine little film. We quite enjoyed ourselves, although a spot of wine would have been nice to go with it!

      • Sarah
        Posted February 12, 2013 at 5:40 am | Permalink

        You might have had Chateauneuf du Pape.

        • gbjames
          Posted February 12, 2013 at 6:26 am | Permalink

          That would have been an appropriate selection!

          • neil
            Posted February 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

            Especially if it was old, tired and drying out.

  51. Kevin
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Sadly late to the party.

    I heard this news on NPR, and my only thought was “I hope whatever you have is slowly debilitating and extremely painful. A week or more of unrelenting suffering for you for every tear shed by a child at the hands of one of the monsters you call a ‘priest’.”

  52. Dave
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Actually, given who they say they are, their supposed lineage, etc, it would be more fitting if all popes were crucified. Especially this one.

  53. still learning
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Seen on Twitter: “I did Nazi that coming.”

  54. Dawn Oz
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    On a lighter note.

    Benedict – ‘guess what I’m giving up for lent!’

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Ha Ha Ha!

  55. Steve In Oakland
    Posted February 12, 2013 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    It is a little weird for a Pope to give two weeks notice.

  56. Posted February 12, 2013 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    So Ratti is getting a divorce from God! I thought they were supposed to die in the saddle or get murdered?

    • gbjames
      Posted February 12, 2013 at 5:34 am | Permalink

      There’s still time to get murdered.

  57. anthony44
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s worth mentioning that Benedict XVI was much more than the head of the Catholic Church. He was also an intellectual with an extensive knowledge of a variety of subjects whose thoughtful remarks often made us think about the world’s most daunting problems. What I loved about him was his keen interest in the protection of the environment. He spoke openly about the threats such as global warming and other challenges we’ll have to face in the years to come. In my native Vancouver there’s now a project called Greenest City 2020 Action Plan whose aim is to eliminate the negative impact that our actions often have on the environment and it seems to me that those in power are reluctant to speak about these problems or support the activities carried out by various environmental movements. And I have to say Pope Benedict was never afraid to raise his voice to warn against the possible disastrous consequences in this particular area. I think he should be a source of inspiration for a number of leaders and that’s why he will definitely be missed by many here in Canada.

    • gbjames
      Posted February 17, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      I think most of us are quite aware that Beni was “more than the head of the Catholic Church”. We are aware of his role for decades in the coverup and protection of pedophile priests. We are aware of his efforts to rehabilitate holocaust right wing extremist cult leaders. We are aware of the devastation of AIDS in Africa and his role in discouraging the use of condoms. We are aware of the attempts by the Church under the direction of Pope Benedict XVI to meddle in the politics, working to deny civil rights to gay people. And we are aware of his role in leading the Church’s efforts to prevent access to contraception and abortion services for women.

      I’m not particularly impressed by Ratzinger. Whatever intellectual gifts he might have possessed, he used them largely in support of a medieval institution that is responsible for untold misery. I will miss him far less than I miss Richard Nixon.


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