In an unexpected turn of events, the Vatican has announced that Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI of the Catholic Church, will resign at the end of February. Citing failing health, the 85 year old Ratzinger, Pope since the death in 2005 of Karol Józef Wojtyła, Pope John Paul II, said “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”.
Long accused of being involved in the cover-ups of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in his previous Vatican position of Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger, and as Pope Benedict XVI, is blamed for much of the secrecy surrounding the scandals.
Since those holding the position of Pope seldom resign, but instead die in office, one is left to wonder if this Pope’s early exit is due to more than simple old age. With the secrecy which surrounds the Vatican and the Church, we may never know if there are other reasons.