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Pope Announces His Resignation, Effective Feb. 28

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Vatican Pope Vespers

VATICAN CITY (WWJ/AP) – Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday he would resign Feb. 28 because he is simply too old to carry on. Here is the text of his announcement, delivered to cardinals gathered for a ceremony to name three new saints.

“Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, 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 recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill 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.”

(For more on the pope’s announcement, click here.)

WWJ Newsradio 950 has been taking calls from listeners about the pope’s surprise announcement.  Here’s what listeners are saying:

“It’s about time the Catholic pope retired because he’s gettin’ up there and he might not live too long.”

“I think it’s a shame that we’re losing Pope Benedict XVI, but he had the wherewithall to know that he was getting weak and in trouble and he couldn’t do the job.”

“I wonder what type of retirement program he has.  I wonder if he gets to keep the  … shoes and the Popemobile.”

Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron said he was just as surprised as everyone else. “Quickly after the surprise followed sadness, a sense of grief at losing his fatherly care for all us, bishops, clergy, and faithful. We have come to love him very much and will miss him.

“Most of us know in our own personal lives what it means to see a parent grow old and decline in ability. That is the sense we bring to this announcement,” Vigneron said, in a statement.  (Read more here).

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