Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation

Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85.

The unexpected development – the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years – surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even the his closest aides.

The then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope after John Paul II’s death.

The Vatican says it expects a new Pope to be elected before Easter.

The BBC’s Alan Johnston in Rome says the news has come “out of the blue”, and that there was no speculation whatsoever about the move in recent days.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is quoted as saying he was “greatly shaken by this unexpected news”.

Read more at BBC



  1. Can we expect the Catholic change with the next Pope? I don’t really think so. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, formerly the archbishop of Quebec City, has the best odds of replacing Pope Benedict XVI, but he is an extremely conservative man who will definitely not want the Catholic church to change. He is expected to be a carbon copy Pope Benedict XVI.