Stunning news out of Rome that Pope Benedict XVI has announced he will resign the papacy as of 28 February, making him the first Pope in nearly 600 years to step down voluntarily from the throne of St. Peter.  The news has thrown the Church into a tizzy, as no one saw this resignation coming.

The 85-year-old German’s resignation letter said, in part: “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.

Pope Benedict XVI at a consistory at the Vatican today

Pope Benedict XVI at a consistory at the Vatican today

“…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.”

Of course, very little in Vatican City is as simple as it seems or is presented.  Continue reading