Pope Benedict To Resign, First Pontiff Since Middle Ages To Quit


Pope Benedict, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, said on Monday he will resign on Feb 28. because he no longer has the strength to fulfil the duties of his office, becoming the first pontiff since the Middle Ages to take such a step.

The 85-year-old German-born Pope, hailed as a hero by conservative Catholics and viewed with suspicion by liberals, said he had noticed that his strength had deteriorated over recent months.

In a statement, the pope said in order to govern “…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,” he said according to a statement from the Vatican.

A Vatican spokesman said the pontiff would step down from 1900 GMT on Feb. 28, leaving the office vacant until a successor was chosen to Benedict who succeeded John Paul, one of history’s most popular pontiffs.

Elected to the papacy on April 19, 2005 when he was 78 — 20 years older than John Paul was when he was elected — he ruled over a slower-paced, more cerebral and less impulsive Vatican.

But while conservatives cheered him for trying to reaffirm traditional Catholic identity, his critics accused him of turning back the clock on reforms by nearly half a century and hurting dialogue with Muslims, Jews and other Christians.



  1. To No. 1

    We should care very much. First, there are nearly a billion people who take their lead from the Pope on matters of faith and we live and work alongside those people every day. The Catholic church has done much to reduce anti-semitism, expose the treachery of Pius XII during WWII and recognize the courage of some Catholics in Poland, France and Hungary who saved many Yidden from the Nazis. Second, the Catholic Church still plays a role in middle east politics since there are many religious locations in EY regarded as a “makom kodesh” by the Catholic Church which they seek to assure access to . They also own large amomunts of property in Yerushalayim, Bethlehem and elsewhere in EY. The new pope will play an important role in resolving issues related to these sites as part of an overall long-term peace settlement.

  2. “Who cares about the pope?”

    You might not – but billions of Catholics throughout the world most certainly do.

    Do us all a favor and keep your ignorance and sheer bad manners to yourself and remember that it is not only Jews who visit this web site.

  3. #1: The amora’im studied avoda zara and kishuf. (The term “abracadabra” is derived from the expression Rava used to create cucumbers out of thin air – abra k’adabra – I will create as I speak.)

    V’hameivin yavin.

  4. 1. Who cares? This doesn’t really affect us.

    2. While we have gedolim the same age, they generally do not run large bureaucratic organizations. The Pope is both head of state, as well as the head of government (done in most countries by a prime minister).

  5. “The Catholic Church has done much to reduce anti semitism”, are you for real? Do you really think we hold our place as Jews depending on who is pope? Please, it’s time to look at Who holds the rod rather than the rod itself.

  6. To all you people that have negative things to say. I suggest you look back at history and compare how the Church treated Jews centuries ago to how they treat us now. If you see a difference and its for the better, it is wise to either keep quiet or say something positive. There is an element of Hakoras Hatov that we should show that applies to Non Jews as well.

  7. To No 13….if you really believe the position and teachings of the Catholic church on matters related to yidden and yiddeshkeit haven’t changed since WW II, there is no much anyone can do regarding your ignorance of historical reality. There are still many problems, the most important of which relate to their positions on a peace settlement with the Palestinians but overall the changes have been real and profound.