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Pope Benedict will be first Pope in 600 years to retire
February 11, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
I'm glad Pope Benedict XVI is brave enough to recognize when it's time for him to quit, even though it will make him the first Pope in about 600 years to resign. The Pope announced today that he will resign as of Feb. 28.
Pope Benedict is 85 and the reason for his resignation is apparently due to advancing age and his own recognition that he no longer has the strength to continue such a demanding and stressful schedule and do his best job for the Church. Based on what I've read about Pope Benedict, I suspect he might have been happier not to be Pope. He is reportedly a rather shy, introverted man who likes intellectual pursuits and might have preferred to retire to the country with his cats. His brother is also a priest and I think his original retirement plan was for them to live together. For his sake, I hope he is still in good enough shape to enjoy some of those activities.
I'm sure there will be critics who say he should have died in the position like all the other popes before him, but I don't agree. It is healthy to recognize limits and to make room for a younger, more energetic leader who can do his best for the Catholic Church in a way that Benedict, the former Josef Ratzinger, cannot. The uncharted territory may be the position that the retired Pope takes with the new Pope. Will he be healthy enough to serve as an adviser or a sounding board for his successor?
What do you think of the Pope's decision to retire? What sort of man would you like to see chosen to become the next Pope?
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