Pope to resign!

(170 Posts)
Mandy2003 Mon 11-Feb-13 11:04:39

Didn't know this was allowed - thought they saw themselves as "chosen" by a higher power and it was a job for life confused

But no reason has been given yet following the simple announcement from the Vatican.

OddBoots Mon 11-Feb-13 11:06:13

He's the Pope, he can do what he likes... or something.

I thought he'd only just taken the role but when I look it was 2005 so nearly 8 years, time is just flying past too quick!

Guntie Mon 11-Feb-13 11:08:02

Mandy could you share a link?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Feb-13 11:08:27

Wonder if it's connected to the release of private information butler Paolo Gabrielle leaked last year?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Feb-13 11:09:11
Guntie Mon 11-Feb-13 11:09:32

^^ No bother finally found it. Don't know why I couldn't in the first place! It seems so recent he started.

It's always good to get the opportunity for a pope joke:

Q - what happens when the pope resigns?
A - another one popes up.

Disclaimer: possibly only funny if said in a Glasgow accent.

Guntie Mon 11-Feb-13 11:11:11

cogito ohhh papal conspiracy theory! I thought there was talk for a while of a resignation due to ill health? But then the same could be said about the previous pope who did not resign...

scaevola Mon 11-Feb-13 11:11:28

I think the last time a Pope resigned was centuries ago!

His age and frail health is a much more likely explanation than any wider church politics.

The resignation is wef 28 February, and there will be a Conclave some time tba after that.

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Mon 11-Feb-13 11:11:57

Is there a precedent? Has it happened before?

The cynic in me suspects some bad news for the Catholic Church may be about to hit the fan.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 11-Feb-13 11:12:33

I think being 85 is reason enough. Not everyone has the stamina of our own dear Queen.

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 11:12:59

Too much to hope that it's over the behaviour of the Church hierarchy over the years.........

PrincessFiorimonde Mon 11-Feb-13 11:13:41

Link - but not much info as the news has only just broken

Am amazed to hear this. No pope has resigned for hundreds of years, I believe - and even then was probably a forced resignation for political reasons.

Suggestion is that it's ill health, but of course I wonder too if it's related to a brewing scandal, eg 'what the butler saw', as Cogito says.

Guntie Mon 11-Feb-13 11:14:25

The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII (1406–1415)..

scaevola Mon 11-Feb-13 11:14:40

According to the news, the last time was in the late 1400s.

He's not been seen much in public recently, he's nearly 85, and surely it's better to have a proper succession than continue with someone too unwell to carry out the role.

Guntie Mon 11-Feb-13 11:15:35

^^ and as Princess says that was due to political reasons.

Mandy2003 Mon 11-Feb-13 11:15:49

There wasn't a link when I heard the news on the radio and posted. It's arrived on the BBC News website now.

Just what I thought Frankelly!

miemohrs Mon 11-Feb-13 11:15:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ppeatfruit Mon 11-Feb-13 11:16:23

Yeah I agree seeker

SestheBrave Mon 11-Feb-13 11:19:14

I am in shock but on reflection don't think I should be (if that makes sense!)

I think it is a brave thing to do and maybe influenced by the previous Pope who stayed in office when his health really affected his ability to fulfil the role. Most people in their mid-80s would struggle to do such a public role.

I look forward to the election of a new Pope. When Pope Benedict was elected I felt that this was still tinged with grief for Pope John Paul II so at least this time I think there will be a bit more excitement and positivity about the conclave.

Guntie Mon 11-Feb-13 11:19:57

I couldn't say its right or wrong, its HIGHLY unusual. Pope JP II was frail and in ill health for some time before he passed.

Pope Benedict was one of the oldest Popes when be became Pope. I would have thought it would have been a consideration as to what to do when his health failed, given he started the job at a very advanced age...

I hope this is not the start of hearing about a horrific scandal sad

CartedOff Mon 11-Feb-13 11:20:06

First resignation in 600 years? Wow.

I remember reading an article a few years ago about how gruelling life as Pope was (ridiculously long hours for very old men) and that their lifespan was arguably shortened by the intensity of the workload. I figured most of them were in ill health a few years into the role.

Whatever the reason for him resigning we're witnessing a pretty historical moment. I always get the strangest feeling when I see these stories that are going to be mentioned over and over again in history books and news stories and so on in the decades to come.

Interesting news

lljkk Mon 11-Feb-13 11:21:18

Full credit to him if he's doing it out of humility. Not something the Catholic church gets accused of very often.

miemohrs Mon 11-Feb-13 11:22:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CartedOff Mon 11-Feb-13 11:23:22


A link to the full announcement made by the Pope.

miemohrs Mon 11-Feb-13 11:24:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Badvoc Mon 11-Feb-13 11:24:58

i have a bad feeling that some awful revelations are about to hit...if it was ill health they would have said so straight away.
the silence is telling imo

piprabbit Mon 11-Feb-13 11:29:26

How odd. I can't help wondering if there is more to it than that announcement suggests, not because I'm into conspiracy theories but because it is almost unprecedented.

Perhaps the ill health is mental as much as physical.

Annunziata Mon 11-Feb-13 11:30:22

I am very very scared. Italian newspapers are saying 'for the good of the church.'

scaevola Mon 11-Feb-13 11:31:17

He has said ill health.

If there was about to be a scandal, I'd have thought they would be making every effort to keep him in place. He absorbed the crisis that emerged just after he took over, so there would be a strong line of argument to continue with one Pope covering the time of revelations.

SestheBrave Mon 11-Feb-13 11:31:35

I hope you're wrong Badvoc. I think you are. There wasn't a long silence, they have read the statement and it specifically talks about lack of physical and mental strength. It is also reported that he advised Pope John Paul II to resign due to ill health so not out of character or suggestive of a sudden resignation for other reasons.

Annunziata Mon 11-Feb-13 11:32:26

That's true scaevola.

PandaWatch Mon 11-Feb-13 11:36:33

"I am very very scared. Italian newspapers are saying 'for the good of the church.'"


And you don't think him resigning because he's a very sick elderly man who can no longer carry out official duties to his full capacity would be "for the good of the church"?

You lot have been reading too many Dan Brown books grin

I thnk dementia would make it impossible to carry out his duties.

scaevola Mon 11-Feb-13 11:41:35

Vatican press conference just starting: on SKY, but so far in Italian and translation not yet begun.

The possibility was flagged up in 2010, so not totally out of the blue

'Yet Benedict himself raised the possibility of resigning if he were simply too old or sick to continue on, when he was interviewed for the book 'Light of the World,' which was released in November 2010.
'If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign,' Benedict said.
The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had an intimate view as Pope John Paul II, with whom he had worked closely for nearly a quarter-century, suffered through the debilitating end of his papacy. After John Paul's death at age 84, it was revealed that he had written a letter of resignation to be invoked if he became terminally ill or incapable of continuing on.
And it should be recalled that at the time Benedict was elected pope at age 78 - already the oldest pope elected in nearly 300 years - he had been planning to retire as the Vatican's chief orthodoxy watchdog to spend his final years writing in the 'peace and quiet' of his native Bavaria.

Sorry, Fail link

SignoraStronza Mon 11-Feb-13 11:50:28

Ooh, I love a bit of 'Pope Watch'. Was living in Italy last time a new one was elected and the whole country was on tenterhooks for the puff of smoke.

DadOnIce Mon 11-Feb-13 11:50:53

He's resigning to spend more time with his family.

Oh, no, hang on...

One thing is does anyone think it's a bit annoying that his statement starts "Dear Brothers" rather than "Dear Brothers and Sisters" - but I realise he was addressing a specific group consisting of only men (there's a surprise hmm)
But couldn't he have written to all his brothers and sisters in the Church of which he is leader ?

Anyway other thoughts, yes they need a younger leader, hopefully one in favour of contraception and women's rights ?! But perhaps that's a lot to ask !

I also think, provided there's no scandal about to break, that it's a good thing that he's considering where best his service lies as he grows older - and perhaps the role could beneficially evolve into one that wasn't necessarily for life ?
I like the idea of older Pope's retiring to a life of prayerful support. Perhaps he will make that more possible for those that follow him too ?

DadOnIce Mon 11-Feb-13 11:53:34

Do they actually need to replace him? In the current climate of cuts and employment restructuring, they should be asking if his duties can be efficiently redistributed among other departments to save money.

piprabbit Mon 11-Feb-13 11:54:28

Perhaps he will become The Dowager Pope.

Am I alone in hoping that this is an opportunity for change in the catholic church? He was just a continuation of JPII, no desire to change or revisit anything eg his stance on the possibilty of women priests. Radical change is needed in the hierarchy of the church. That's too much to hope for but maybe, just maybe, there will be a change for good???

FashionFail Mon 11-Feb-13 11:59:05

Maybe we can have a hot, young one?

piprabbit Mon 11-Feb-13 12:01:55

HaHaHa FashionFail grin

GrimmaTheNome Mon 11-Feb-13 12:04:56

>He's resigning to spend more time with his family.


seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 12:06:09

He's resigning because the Papal Bull has turned out to be horse.......

FashionFail Mon 11-Feb-13 12:08:34

Blimey, apparently there is a pin-up in the Papal running ...


RedToothBrush Mon 11-Feb-13 12:12:58

I think this HAS to be a good thing.

If there is a scandal in the wings, then a resignation would force change, which is therefore clearly needed.
If its ill health, then it simply not in the interests of the Church to have someone in the job who can't do it (and therefore its people in the shadows who are doing his work instead).

I don't think there is anyway this can be a bad thing for the Church in the long run. I don't think that even if there is a scandal, it will destroy the Church from the present Pope alone - it will be down to his successor.

If it is age related, it also means that younger people will start to be much more important in the church and given the fact its viewed as so out of touch with the modern world, having a bit more visible youth in its higher ranks can only be to its benefit. It doesn't mean older people will be less important, more that those in charge are more reflective of those they serve.

Ooh, perhaps the Pope has noticed how gorgeous George is too !!
( hence his recent promotion to Archbishop ! )

< quickly ducks under the libel radar - hopefully ! >

Very, very interesting news.

ethelb Mon 11-Feb-13 12:18:54

Can people resign from Catholic marriage now?

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Mon 11-Feb-13 12:40:16

I reckon it's most likely along the lines of Alzheimer's or dementia. The church was adamant throughout JPII's slow decline that physical frailty didn't undermine the Papacy.

Now it might be that seeing JPII up close, Benedict disagreed with his decision.

But I think it's probably a mental health issue.

It is very, very unlikely to be connected to child abuse scandals. The Vatican doesn't think it has dine anything wrong in that regard sad

The only thing that suggests it could be a scandal is the timing - resigning in the middle of Lent is nuts. There may not be a new Pope by Easter. That's huge.

But that could be explained by him wanting to seize the chance of having the cardinals all in town for the canonisations.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Mon 11-Feb-13 12:41:15

BBC news just said he was rumoured to have advised JPII to resign when he was very ill.

gingercat12 Mon 11-Feb-13 12:44:30

Good on him resigning. I was abroad ina Catholic country when JPII was dying, bless. Every news bulletin was full of which of his organs shut down in the past hour, and whether this means he is dead now. It was just awful!

Chislemum Mon 11-Feb-13 12:51:33

deep respect. I am not surprised. He is old and he has been running the show (if I may say this with respect) for much much longer while the former pope was ill. so really i suspect he did not want to have another situation like under john paul ii. brave and intelligent man.

Chislemum Mon 11-Feb-13 12:54:34

@HoldMeCloserTonyDanza not so sure. he has a weak heart and i remember his brother saying in a talk show (in Germany or Austria, can't remember which) after JPII died, that he hoped his brother would not be elected pope but could have a well-deserved retirement where he could write books.

DadOnIce Mon 11-Feb-13 12:56:42

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giveitago Mon 11-Feb-13 13:11:26

Well, he's resigned from his job. Nothing to be scared about. It's a job. Nothing bad will happen to Catholics or anyone else or the world because of this. They'll get a new one. I'm sure they have someone lined up.

Herrena Mon 11-Feb-13 13:15:42

Lol at dadonice!

IF this is as simple as retiring due to physical infirmity (and I hope it is) then I think it's an admirable thing to do. If you believe that you are a leader of spiritual thought and a guide to millions of people then you'd probably be fairly terrified of the responsibility, anxious to do it well and (hopefully) sensible enough to hand over the baton when you judge yourself to no longer be capable.

Might be a big horrible scandal though. I'm not a Catholic so would find either situation equally interesting....

Viviennemary Mon 11-Feb-13 13:20:39

I didn't much like him at first but I did end up thinking he was OK. He came over as very learned but quite humble in his own way. It was quite brave of him to resign if he thinks he is to old and frail to meet the challenges. Better now than in a few more years when his healthy deteriorates further.

giveitago Mon 11-Feb-13 13:20:51

I doubt it's a new scandal as resigning just attracts attention. He may be very ill and doesn't want to be head of religion when he's in slow demise. If that's the case, then good on him.

Also a bit of coup as the new headlines will detract from the many not so great ones over the last many years. A bit a of breather.

chicaguapa Mon 11-Feb-13 13:45:46

Putting Gorgeous Gorg in his place would reinvigorate the Catholic Church. I hope they use this opportunity to choose someone from this generation that can bring the Church up to date and lets people use condoms so they don't get Aids.

mindosa Mon 11-Feb-13 13:47:19

Who does he hand his letter of resignation into

giveitago Mon 11-Feb-13 13:49:27

God of course. It's god who chose him and god who must have preordained that he would resign at some point. Because god has someone else in mind now.

LaQueen Mon 11-Feb-13 13:49:50

Ahhh, this brings back a happy memory, of when I was on my old Forum, and one hapless poster was genuinely confused as to why Pope John Paul II wife and children weren't at his funeral...classic grin

RedToothBrush Mon 11-Feb-13 13:57:30

Just an aside.

If the pope was chosen by a 'higher power' then surely this higher power reserves the right to change its mind and decide that he can resign as the higher power wants someone else instead.

The current Pope is the fourth oldest in history too. The oldest lived to 93. But the other two older popes were 86 and 87 when the popped their clogs.

So obviously God isn't really into Popes going much past the age of the current Pope anyway. And as a job for life, I think working towards and getting the job at the grand old age of 78 and going on to 85 is pretty much a life vocation anyway.

RedToothBrush Mon 11-Feb-13 14:01:00

Another thought.

If the Pope resigns, doesn't he theoretically get to have a greater influence on who succeeds than he would if he was dead?

giveitago Mon 11-Feb-13 14:01:24

Yup - so the higher power made a mistake. I'm thinking the higher power is going to inject a bit of secular political correctness into the choosing of new spiritual leader.

slug Mon 11-Feb-13 14:04:19

So the speculation round work at the moment is he is resigning because either:
a) Ill health
b) The Catholic Church scandals are about to expose him
c) He's emigrating to England with Gorgeous George to have a same sex marriage

grovel Mon 11-Feb-13 14:53:01

He'll be having Ex Benedict for breakfast tomorrow.

Genius grovel, genius ! grin

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Mon 11-Feb-13 15:01:11

Paddy Power are offering 1000/1 that Father Dougal Maguire gets the job grin

They've also priced Bono up at 1000/1


ToomuchWaternotWine Mon 11-Feb-13 15:12:14

dadonice that actually made me really Laugh out Loud!! Get ye to the pope joke thread if not already, I'm off there now.

ToomuchWaternotWine Mon 11-Feb-13 15:23:17

Actually I wouldn't bother with the joke thread it's gone all Professionally Offended.

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 15:25:20

It's gone all we're a persecuted minority, how very dare you. Ignore it. Back to Twitter everyone.

cerealqueen Mon 11-Feb-13 15:26:05

He's just knackered, don't blame him.

Varya Mon 11-Feb-13 15:46:03

At 85 it is likely his health is somewhat compromised.

DadOnIce Mon 11-Feb-13 15:47:23

My joke's been deleted! [fume]

Lockedout434 Mon 11-Feb-13 15:48:50

Yeah right out of humility


As a catholic (sort of) who loves linking
Conspire with the rest of us who watch with amazement at what's goes on.

Smellslikecatspee Mon 11-Feb-13 15:55:00

Dear DADONICE, please please pm me your joke?

I'm collecting them, I'll say decades of the rosary for your sole grin

yes the other thread has gone all P.O.

Good. ANd I hope the whole corrupt stinking misogynistic mob of crooks and nonces goes down with him.

NayFindus Mon 11-Feb-13 17:07:34

It would be really poor taste to post a priest, a conman and a paedophile walk into a bar.

He orders a drink....

So I won't. Doh! shock

InTroubleWithDPIfHeFindsOut Mon 11-Feb-13 18:05:10


armagh Mon 11-Feb-13 18:08:13

Can't believe so many Mumsnetters are so interested in this topic. I never warmed to him- in the Hitler Youth when young, has continued the mad anti contraception policy in the Catholic church....popular , fair minded priests who speak out are reprimanded. He was one of the senior church men when the child sex abuse scandals emerged and the response was to move the perpretators on (to abuse other children elsewhere). I presume the next pope will be an elderly traditionalist too. Plus ca change!

moonstorm Mon 11-Feb-13 18:55:10

Hey! Can someone PM me the jokes, please??? grin

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 11-Feb-13 19:03:39

I am betting Benny Boy will pass away within a month or so after resigning...

And I am hoping we get a handsome liberal 40 something as the next Pope. who will allow contraception, married priests and women priests.

(The church teaches that we should not lose hope!!)

KenDoddsDadsDog Mon 11-Feb-13 19:13:27

I'm hoping Hugh Jackman becomes Pope.
But seriously, have been very disappointed with Pope Benedict, feels like things have gone backwards and he hasn't responded at all well to the scandals.

Highlander Mon 11-Feb-13 19:24:37

Holy Cow, Georgeous George is a dead ringer for Daniel Craig [

stickingattwo Mon 11-Feb-13 20:00:58

More time for him to spend with the wife and kids?

stickingattwo Mon 11-Feb-13 20:02:27

Maybe he dressed up in a SS uniform at the Xmas party & the Daily Wail has the pics?

montage Mon 11-Feb-13 20:02:57

If he said a pope could, and maybe should, resign if he was too frail, and he saw firsthand what it was like when the previous pope was so frail, then it makes sense. On the Irish news it was reported that he wants to resign before he is too frail to do so (which might be what happened with John Paul II).

stickingattwo Mon 11-Feb-13 20:03:01

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OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Feb-13 20:04:59


stickingattwo Mon 11-Feb-13 20:08:19

oh come on THAT was funny! A pope who called gay people an "immoral evil", opposed the advancement of women in the church, opposed the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV, offended Jews, Muslims AND other christian faiths with various speeches - I won't be missing him... not that the next one is likely to be more liberal...

alcibiades Mon 11-Feb-13 20:10:19

I'm wondering why the Vatican is saying they expect to have a new Pope before Easter. I thought the election process was supposed to be divinely inspired, rather than voting for the best guy as in political elections, and therefore there's no pre-determined date for the decision, so the process could go on for weeks. But maybe TPTB already know how that divine inspiration is going to pan out.

I'm also wondering what would happen if Peter Turkson is selected. That would mean that two powerful roles would be in the hands of men of African heritage. That would no doubt upset the white supremacists, who probably would see it as a sign of the end times.

The next step would be a woman occupying both those roles and I'm not sure how long it will take for that to happen and which one will happen first - after all, there's no likelihood of a shortage of people wanting to enter politics in the United States.

Kindling Mon 11-Feb-13 20:11:15

What Solid said. The Catholic Church is rotten at the core.

A brave and intelligent man, Chislemum? I rarely post but this has got me absolutely spitting.

How brave and intelligent was it when as Archbishop, Ratzinger sent a priest accused of child sex abuse for 'therapy', for him then to be returned to 'pastoral work'.

How brave was it when as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, he ordered the cover-up of child sex abuse allegations? Who made it an excommunicable offence for clergy to refer charges of rape of children to outside authorities?

A special kind of revulsion should be reserved for this vile, vile man.

Snazzynewyear Mon 11-Feb-13 20:11:32

Can someone link to a pic of this 'Gorgeous George', please? Sorry if I've missed it.

I read earlier that apparently Rowan Williams knew of this before Christmas but he has evidently kept it very quiet. It seems to have taken everyone by surprise.

ubik Mon 11-Feb-13 20:25:11

perhaps God changed his mind

SisterMonicaJoan Mon 11-Feb-13 20:31:44

Gorgeous George is very Richard Chamberlain in "Thorn Birds"!!

Gorgeous George is linked to by FashionFail @ 12.08 Snazzy HTH [smle]

RedLentil Mon 11-Feb-13 21:11:36

All those people suggesting God has predestined it all need to school themselves on Catholic interpretations of predestination and free will. Just saying. grin

I thought of Richard Chamberlain before I even clicked the link SisterMonicaJoan. <swoon>

The Queen must be really fed up. Queen of the Netherlands, Archbish Rowan, The Pope - EVERYBODY is retiring. It's enough to make her paranoid.

My personal pet conspiracy theory is that he's done this now because he feels the cardinals will elect somebody younger but of a similar conservative viewpoint now. If he'd gone on till dying in office that could be another 5-10 years perhaps and he could have been followed by a more liberal candidate.

LittlePushka Mon 11-Feb-13 23:15:52

You all have it completely wrong.... he is OBVIOUSLY leaving the Vatican as it is being confiscated by the Authorities to meet his spiralling care bills.

olgaga Tue 12-Feb-13 08:31:27

My reaction? This was a man with knowledge of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church since at least 1981, who did absolutely nothing about it except prolong the cover-up.

He'll make way for someone else with decades of knowledge about child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, who will do nothing about it except prolong the cover-up.

Apart from that, and mild irritation at the fact that this will be a permanent fixture in the 24 hour rolling news headlines until the spring, I don't find it terribly interesting or relevant.

TomArchersSausage Tue 12-Feb-13 09:03:28

Maybe he's been talking to Dougal from Father Ted and has gone off travelling with some hippies.

Melty Tue 12-Feb-13 09:41:49

Christopher Hitchens view

I was brought up catholic. I have lived as a catholic. in a Catholic/Christian country that treated (and still do) women and children as inferior things, not worthy of listening to or in the case of children, of protecting. My aunt left Ireland with my 2 cousins because she was being physically abused by her husband. She went to the parish priest for help, he told her to stay with him because in the eyes of God she was bound to her husband eternally. And she had promised before God to obey her husband so shouldnt be trying to spread malicious gossip.
Luckily the family doctor told her to get the hell out before she was killed and thank God, she did.
My dad went to a Christian Brothers secondary school. He and many of his classmates were beaten within an inch of his life. And I'm not talking of the widespread corporal punishment that was rife everywhere in those days. I mean severe beatings beyond what was thought "acceptable" at the time.
I know people who went to England because they got pregnant to prevent the shame and the risk of going into a home for unmarried mothers. (Magdalene anyone?) and this was in the early 80s.
I do not think of myself as catholic. I would not associate myself with a church or any organised religion for that matter that has behaved as the catholic church has.
Its ridiculously rich, yet there are people starving all over the world. It sends missionaries everywhere to spread the word of God and the catholic way to poverty stricken people that know no different.

So, No, I don't feel sad/disappointed that someone who thinks it ok to cover up child abuse has resigned because he is old and feeble.

inadreamworld Tue 12-Feb-13 10:03:28

If you believe the prophecies of St Malachy the next Pope will be the last and the Vatican will be destroyed/attacked


It does seem that many of the previous Popes have been what St Malachy described them as so...who knows....there could be something in it?

Animation Tue 12-Feb-13 10:18:16

"My reaction? This was a man with knowledge of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church since at least 1981, who did absolutely nothing about it except prolong the cover-up."

Olgaga - Yes, because of this there was something unethical about him. I couldn't warm to him.

grants1000 Tue 12-Feb-13 10:36:29

What made me smile is the month's notice, does not seem a lot for such a big job, most places I've worked want 3 months notice and I held no such position of power and authority?

Perhaps he's just so old and worn out!

GrimmaTheNome Tue 12-Feb-13 11:12:03

>Perhaps he's just so old and worn out!
really that is most likely to be it. Elderly people can go downhill quite fast - physically or mentally.

CarlingBlackMabel Tue 12-Feb-13 11:23:34

Why did anyone think it sensible in the first place that someone with HUGE power and influence should be allowed to stay in situ without regard for general altertness and compos mentis level? Utterly ridiculous that the position should have no regard for the incumbent's competence to undertake the role once old age or other infimity takes hold.

Unfortunately it meant we had to listen to Cormac McMurphy for huge swathes of R4 yesterday afternoon angry.

What's the big issue? There'll be a new one, hopefully with a bit more C21st regard for health, quality of earthly life, equality, and justice.

The Vatican needs to get real.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 12-Feb-13 11:30:34

>The Vatican needs to get real.

Now there's a novel concept....it has to be one of the most unreal places on Earth.

rockybambi Tue 12-Feb-13 11:58:39

I didn't realise being a pope was a job that you could resign from. I thought it was a calling. Still, presumably its Gods will that he resigns (not that he just can't be arsed now he's an old bloke)
Good luck to the new Pope; with the Old Pope still knocking about it'll be hard for him to have the gravitas needed in his new role.

RedToothBrush Tue 12-Feb-13 12:01:34

Erm those prophecies on that link are tenious at best. With people trying to find something to fit rather than it being obvious. It seems the prophecy is pretty much a nickname. It also says that there is nothing to say there isn't a pile of Popes in between the second to last and the Last...

Even the article said it struggled to work out why the present Pope would be 'Glory of the Olives'. They make the connection that the symbol of Benedictine Order is Olives but didn't know why he would be 'Glory of'.

The last prophecy says
"In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit. Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end."

There's dispute about whether the line about persecution relates to Glory of the Olives or Peter the Roman or stands on its own.

And if you look at the potential candidates on the BBC website, 'Peter the Roman' could easily be applied to:
Christoper Schoenborn, Austria
The son of a Bohemian count, he was born in 1945 to a family with a long history of high office in the Catholic church and the Holy Roman Empire.

Peter Turkson, Ghana
Fairly obvious...

And a fair few of the others lived and studied in Rome before becoming higher up in the church...

Tenious. At best.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 12-Feb-13 12:04:19

Tenuous at best, or more likely, as with all 'prophesies' a complete load of codswallop grin

grammye Tue 12-Feb-13 13:30:56

I was stunned to hear that Pope Benedict was to resign.
I wonder if this will set a new precedent,for future Popes.

IndiaJade Tue 12-Feb-13 13:31:09

New Pope - same shit, different bucket.

MerlinScot Tue 12-Feb-13 14:23:54

"when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed"

The millions of Romans should be warned though LOL
The city of Seven Hills is Rome, not the Vatican. Vatican city/state is a ridiculous two-square-mile country full of priests and cardinals, nothing to do with the rest of the city......
Although, given that it is also where the Italian Parliament is, it would be appropriate to see all of them erased from the face of Earth hehehe

Maybe it is my fault....I came to Rome on business yesterday expecting a little Spring sunshine...the heavens opened, there was a MASSIVE storm, and the Pope resigned.

I hear from someone here that he knows someone who knows someone....who actually knows that the Pope is seriously ill with cancer. I have no idea whether there is any truth in this at all. I suspect it is speculation and nothing more.

emeraldy Tue 12-Feb-13 17:48:44

I heard on the grapevine that they have a replacement lined up already


edam Tue 12-Feb-13 23:11:04

grin @ cheggers. Someone on FBK sent me a 'Tim Minchin for Pope' message - his song about the papacy is v. funny.

If he is seriously ill, he must be worried about meeting his maker. Given what Christ said about the fate that awaits those who harm the vulnerable, especially children...

GrimmaTheNome Wed 13-Feb-13 10:00:02

>The city of Seven Hills is Rome, not the Vatican.
The Seven Hills are all the other side of the Tiber from the Vatican.

There's lots of seven-hilled cities . (even a Zevenbergen in the Netherlands!) Maybe God's got it in for one of those ...Brussels perhaps?

sieglinde Wed 13-Feb-13 10:02:00

He's actually done a lot as Pope to apologise for child sex abuse, far more than his predecessor JP II. Of course he hasn't done enough to appease his opponents or compensate the victims - though it's hard to see what WOULD work here, but he's the head of a large conservative institution, and he's done more than my large conservative institution (Oxford University) to atone for the past, in that at least he's admitted that there's a lot wrong and he issued an apology, and ousted one of the key perpetrators.

He also made a moderate, fairly lenient statement about condom use in marriage. I think it's VERY unrealistic to expect a huge, quick U-turn form him or his successor, because big institutions move in small increments. He has to take people with him.

I think he's done what he can. He's clearly very shy, scholarly, not a fighter, but a decent and kinda sad guy. I wish him well. I valued him for his intelligent spiritual take on what it means to be RC. I don't expect everyone - anyone?- to share my views, but thought an RC take might be interesting....

MerlinScot Wed 13-Feb-13 10:05:21

Yeah Grimma, but they're not in the Vatican State. That's Italy.
Maybe that saint had a grudge against all Italians or maybe the Pope was Italian at that time LOL

Rome's nickname is the City of the Seven Hills because it was founded on them (so the legend says), therefore the reference to that particular city and not the other seven-hilled cities...

GrimmaTheNome Wed 13-Feb-13 11:06:00

Yes, I know.

Except doesn't Rome have eight hills at least grin. Nah, Brussels much more likely target of wrath.

ubik Wed 13-Feb-13 12:21:08

Sheffield has seven hills.

sunflowersfollowthesun Wed 13-Feb-13 12:58:16

for Tim Minchin's ^POPE SONG^
Warning Possibly not recommended for the devout...or the generally easily offended...or the PO.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 13-Feb-13 13:05:13

>Warning Possibly not recommended for the devout...or the generally easily offended...or the PO.

Possibly grin - you think?

sunflowersfollowthesun Wed 13-Feb-13 13:10:11


whiskyplease Wed 13-Feb-13 13:11:59

I suppose he will become Ex Benedict then. smile

LeslieKnope Wed 13-Feb-13 13:14:02

sunflowers - that right there is precisely why I adore Tim Minchin!

Posted it on my FB yesterday to much passive aggressive catholic disapproval grin

sunflowersfollowthesun Wed 13-Feb-13 13:17:07

Passive aggressive Catholics? Surely not. grin

LeslieKnope Wed 13-Feb-13 13:20:33

Yep grin

I've been characteristically ranty vocal about this whole thing on FB. I think they're all terrified of my atheist ass grin

CarlingBlackMabel Wed 13-Feb-13 13:43:58

ROFL at ex-Benedict

sieglinde Wed 13-Feb-13 15:53:22

What if they are not terrified but offended, Leslie? I'm not remotely scared of you, alas. grin

Animation Wed 13-Feb-13 16:14:52

Eggs Benedict you mean grin

ubik Wed 13-Feb-13 16:50:14


I just clicked on that Tim Minchin song, it started and three little heads turned toward me in unison and went shock

So I had to stop it grin

My kids are getting a real education this half term, the other day a neighbour had 'wanker' scraped across the bonnet of his car; cue three children gathered round shiny vandalised beamer, spelling out www...wwwan...wan...kerr.... mummy what does that mean?

1944girl Wed 13-Feb-13 19:06:01

I am a Catholic and think the Pope has done the right thing to himself.I have seen him on the news and have noticed how ill and frail he looks.
The previous Pope was visably ill for a long time before he died.I dont think that Benedict wants that to happen to him.That is why he has decided to resign.
IMO I think he will set a precedent.They could elect a much younger man next time, Benedict was 78 when he became Pope.Bishops are allowed to retire at 75.
He is in my prayers, God bless him.

seeker Wed 13-Feb-13 20:15:10

God I love Tim Minchin!

fancyanother Wed 13-Feb-13 20:37:00

I am a Catholic and am glad to see him gone, never warmed to him and he had far too many scandals under his belt to be anything other than a disappointment to me. However I fear that the church is only going to become more orthodox. I know this is just my experience of my parish but we have in the past year had three new priests. One of which is very young. The traditionalist views that they have espoused have really taken me by surprise. I used to enjoy going to mass and having a bit of time to my own thoughts, but now every week we are hectored about some outdated Catholic doctrine. All the things that made me rage as a teenager and turn away from the church have all come back and made me rage again.
i was listening to someone on the radio saying that there should not be a progressive Pope because the Church is becoming more orthodox and the new young followers are all orthodox. I think religion in general is becoming more fundamentalist and traditionalist, maybe because people feel they need someone to tell them what to do in a time of uncertainty. It worries me.

1944girl Thu 14-Feb-13 00:13:57

The catholic churches near me are seeming to close down at an alarming rate due to the shortage of priests.The latest one closed with only a few days notice.The priest was also in charge of another church which has remained open.Another church is hanging on only because of a large number of Polish immigrants who have come to live in the parish.The priest who used to be in charge has just retired, he was in his late eighties.Another catholic church in a nearby area closed, and the parishioners are sharing with the local Anglicans in their church building.One catholic school was threatened with closure due to falling numbers.It only survived by admitting non catholic children.My grandaughter goes to a catholic school where one third of the pupils are Muslim.
Our diocese now has a number of deacons who are married men.They undertake alot of work but are not allowed to say Mass or hear confessions.Many of them work as chaplains in schools and hospitals.I know a few women who would love to become priests but the catholic church still says no.I also know of one priest who resigned the priesthood as he wanted to get married.
I am now in my late sixties and somehow I dont think I will see any major changes in my lifetime.

sieglinde Thu 14-Feb-13 08:59:55

Wow, we have LOTS of Catholic priests here at the Oxford Oratory, all of them younger than me. Loads more at Blackfriars just up the read. The Boars Hill Carmelite friary just took on four new novices. The oratory was packed to the doors for Ash Wednesday yesterday.

fancy, sorry to hear you are unhappy. Agree about the traditionalism, but I absolutely don't think the RC church is fundamentalist - how can it be? what have the priests been saying lately that has upset you? Ours mostly talk about/against materialism and consumerism. Ok, there was the gay marriage silliness - no idea why they felt so stressy about that - but I didn't take it personally.

1944girl Thu 14-Feb-13 19:14:49

The churches are still packed to the doors on Holy Days where I live, the remaining ones that is.Sunday Mass attendances are also large.I am a regular mass goer at the cathedral which is a short distance away.There are four masses there each Sunday.During the week the daily masses have more present than the non catholic churches have on a Sunday.It is only the number of priests that have decreased.The cathedral only has two full time priests when it once had four.
Ash Wednesday yesterday found the cathedral was full to standing room only, and it seats 440 people.It is well known you have to come early to get a seat!.

mooniy Thu 14-Feb-13 22:26:20

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mooniy Thu 14-Feb-13 22:28:20

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sieglinde Fri 15-Feb-13 09:54:50

Yes, 1944girl, the hope or expectation that we (RCs) will wither away has been expressed since the time of Elizabeth I. But we aren't going.... and I think some orders - the very trad ones - are still doing well.

I went to a mass in the EF at York Minster last year - yes, an RC mass in the Minster - and it was so crowded they ran out of hosts.

seeker Fri 15-Feb-13 13:54:56

Ok, there was the gay marriage silliness - no idea why they felt so stressy about that - but I didn't take it personally."

I am constantly amazed by the ability of Roman Catholics to gloss over huge swathes of stuff the church says and does and belives with a light "oh, I didn't take that personally" if you can decide you don't believe the bits you don't want to belive in, whqt actually makes you a Roman Catholic?

sieglinde Fri 15-Feb-13 17:26:55

The fact that I believe in the core stuff, seeker - the number and nature of the sacraments, the transubstantiation, the apostolic succession, the saints, Purgatory. Afraid all that matters much more than the church view of gay marriage. All that's why I'm RC. I'm not RC because of homophobia.

I'm not gay, and if I was I doubt I'd want to be married. That's what I mean by not taking it personally. 95% of marriages are invalid by RC standards. Shrug. I acknowledge that we are not eh world. I also know that bishops can err. Doh. It's not the point.

I'm surprised to see you write a sentence like "95% of marriages are invalid by RC standards" Sieglinde ?

What about you ? Aren't you more questioning of that assumption, it seems rather arrogant and intolerant to me ? You didn't really say what you think about that idea ?

In fact I might be inclined to take that slightly personally as we had a Quaker marriage service. I try to respect other people's relationships whatever celebrations they have chosen (and however informally or otherwise) to represent their commitment to each other.

1944girl Fri 15-Feb-13 23:28:58

A friend of mine was recieved into the catholic church three years ago.She had been a practising anglican all her life.Her reason for becoming a catholic was the fact that the anglican church is accepting women as priests.She was amazed at the large numbers of people at weekday masses and the fact that it is possible, in the catholic church to recieve Holy Communion every day.

sieglinde Sat 16-Feb-13 10:08:58

Goodness, no, juggling. Just I hardly know ANYONE that counts as 'married' by strict RC standards. I actually love the Quakers! If I wasn't RC I might be quaker.

My point was more that I can't see why there's a particular fuss about same-sex marriage given that the RC church also condemns all childless marriages and in fact any ceremony done outside the RC church. By these standards, none of my extended family are married... smile

Lovely to hear about your friend, 1944. Yes, the RC church is really all about communion/the sacraments/visiting the Blessed Sacrament/sacramentals. People outside it tend to focus on its theology of the body, but my point is that this isn't really central to most RCs themselves.

Sorry Sieglinde I think I misunderstood what you were saying there - as I said I was surprised by what I thought I read as I remember having some good discussions with you before (though I have a shocking memory so it's more of an impression than a memory !)

Glad to hear you say you might be a Quaker if you weren't an RC ! And interesting to understand more about the importance of sacraments to Catholics.

seeker Sat 16-Feb-13 10:23:29

But...but...but....if you believe in the apostolic succession, then surely you also have to believe in Papal infallibility? And when the Pope pronounces on, for example, human sexuality ex cathedra you have to do follow him?

Who says St.Peter was infallible though ? I thought that would just be Jesus as he was divine ? (according to Christian tradition)

seeker Sat 16-Feb-13 12:02:52

Papal infallibility is a central tenet of Catholicism. I don't see how you can be a catholic and not believe in it.

I'm not a Catholic though, brought up CofE, now Quaker

sieglinde Sat 16-Feb-13 12:49:03

Juggling, seeker:

Good to have a chance to explain. It is a bit complex...

Apostolic succession and the doctrine of infallibility are separate though related ideas.

The former need not imply the latter. Most C of Es believe in the former but NOT the latter.

The former simply means the idea that each Bishop of Rome takes on the authority granted to Peter by Christ, when Christ said 'upon this rock I will build my church' - this is actually a pun on Peter's new nickname, Petrus or Rocky... and 'what you hold bound on earth I will hold bound in heaven.'

Papal infallibility applies only to a very VERY few pronouncements, seeker. The latest is actually the assumption of Mary, and as far as I know there has NEVER been an infallible pronouncement on the theology of the body. It's usually a weapon against serious schism.. so the following are the most agreed instances:

"Tome to Flavian", Pope Leo I, 449, on the two natures in Christ, received by the Council of Chalcedon; [against the Arian heresy]
Letter of Pope Agatho, 680, on the two wills of Christ, received by the Third Council of Constantinople;
Benedictus Deus, Pope Benedict XII, 1336, on the beatific vision of the just prior to final judgment;
Cum occasione, Pope Innocent X, 1653, condemning five propositions of Jansen as heretical;
Auctorem fidei, Pope Pius VI, 1794, condemning seven Jansenist propositions of the Synod of Pistoia as heretical;
Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX, 1854, defining the Immaculate Conception;
Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII, 1950, defining the Assumption of Mary.

Can't see that these are likely to outrage or even interest most outside the RC church grin

Therefore it is perfectly possible to be a very devout catholic and to disagree a LOT even with ex cathedra statements, though normally such disagreements should be private. (Ex cathedra is NOT btw the same as an infallible pronouncement at ALL.)

If anyone is still awake interested I can rant on some more about ex cathedra.

Viviennemary Sat 16-Feb-13 12:54:03

The Pope is only infallible on doctrinal matters. (Sorry if that sounds like something out of Father Ted. grin. Not on moralistic ones. That's what I was told in any case. So if he says Jesus rose from the dead that's doctrinal. But no sex before marriage that's moralistic.

catgirl1976 Sat 16-Feb-13 13:19:06

Has anyone seen this stuff about him writing to the Italian PM requesting immunity from prosecution?

jesiii Sat 16-Feb-13 14:23:43

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sieglinde Sat 16-Feb-13 15:35:13

He's not even infallible on all doctrinal matters, Viviennemary. Only on a few. But certainly NOT on moral matters.

Viviennemary Sat 16-Feb-13 19:56:29

A priest told me years and years ago he was when a few of us young ones were querying all sorts! So I've remembered that. But you're right only when he makes a special announcement. I forgot that bit! It was several lifetimes ago. A quote from the bible. Jesus said to Peter I give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven. ' Haven't looked it up but something along those lines. So that was good enough for me. Though I hardly ever go to church these days.

KenDoddsDadsDog Sat 16-Feb-13 22:06:41

Nah he's not infallible , we don't have to virtuously agree with everything he says. Especially on moral issues.

sieglinde Sun 17-Feb-13 10:06:10

Ken Dodd, can you read? I explained above. Infallibility DOESN'T mean you have to agree with everything the Pope says.

I suspect you want to ignore that so you can fill your straw target with arrows.

fedupworking Sun 17-Feb-13 10:30:38

who really cares anyway. It's about time their was no pope's

KenDoddsDadsDog Sun 17-Feb-13 12:19:06

I was agreeing with you sieglinde. Thought you explained very well. Wind your neck in.

sieglinde Sun 17-Feb-13 12:35:44

Sorry, Ken. Love your insult, btw. Makes me think of Alice in Wonderland in serpent form. Consider it wound.

KenDoddsDadsDog Sun 17-Feb-13 13:11:09


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