Adios Aufweidersehn and Arrivederci Pope Benedict XVI!
Rome, Italy --- The former Joseph Ratzinger, currently known as Pope Benedict XVI, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, announced that he will be stepping down from his Papal duties effective February 28, 2013.
The homophobic German native succeeded Pope John Paul II on April 19, 2005. Prior to his selection as the Pope, he was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
According to the The Guardian’s Rome correspondent Lizzy Davies, the Pope’s resignation comes without any real prior warning or public speculation.
She says the papacy will be vacant after 28 February 2013 until a successor is chosen. Lizzy writes:
The pope announced his decision in Latin this morning during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, informing them of "a decision of great importance for the life of the church".
According to a statement released by the Vatican, Benedict, who is 85, said he was resigning due his age and declining strength.
Benedict, who became the 265th Pope in 2005, is known to suffer from arthritis, particularly in his knees, hips and ankles.
He had been due to travel to Brazil - the largest Catholic country in the world - in July for a youth festival, but concerns had been raised privately among Vatican observers about whether he would be strong enough.The conservative extremist Pope Benedict XVI remains a polarizing figure within the Roman Catholic Church. During his papal tenure he was consumed by the sexual abuse scandals around the world, while he reiterated and reinforced to the faithful, that women have no place in the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
He alienated Catholic parishioners and Christians around the world, for his harsh rhetoric and outspoken disapproval of marriage equality, and the LGBT community.
When he was the Archbishop of Munich, it was revealed that he quietly re-assigned a known pedophile Priest to duties that, in time, allowed him to return to pastoral duties and re-offend.
Pope Benedict XVI will continue to serve the church "through a life dedicated to prayer".
A conclave will be convened in Rome, to choose his successor, in March 2013.
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