Pope Benedictus XVI became the first head of the Roman Catholic Church since 1415 to resign∫ announcing he will step down Feb. 28, citing his “advanced age” and health issues. Here is the text of the pope’s letter to the Vatican’s College of Cardinals.
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.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
Bookmakers have made Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson the favorite to succeed Benedict. Angelo Scola, the conservative archbishop of Milan, is another top candidate.
Iran and its terrorist affiliate, Hezbollah, are building a network of militias inside Syria to prop up and protect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Panetta-Dempsey sequel on Benghazi last week to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “artful dodging” raises new questions: The defense secretary and chairman of the joint chiefs testified that they had one contact with the president regarding the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, at the U.S. installation in Libya and no (i.e., zero) contact with Clinton that day. “This is not about simply another Benghazi postmortem, but an important insight into the ongoing weakness and inattention that is debilitating our ability to defend ourselves and our global interests,” writes former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton.
It’s a 40-hour train ride from Moscow to Vorkuta, a city north of Russia’s Arctic Circle that was constructed as part of the Soviet gulag system of forced labor. This photo essay shows how life goes on in a forgotten realm.
A different take (mine) on evangelism in the so-called Muslim world, where “indigenous believers are growing their churches in places where Westerners fear to tread.”