Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Resigning pope to impart wisdom

14 February 2013, 13:04

Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI will address a group of parish priests from Rome on Thursday, a day after emotional scenes at his final papal mass in public in St Peter's Basilica before stepping down at the end of the month.

Vatican observers say the speech will be something like a "theological testament" that will form part of the legacy of the 85-year-old, who says his advancing age is preventing him from keeping up with the modern world.

Thousands of tearful priests, nuns and ordinary faithful applauded the pope at an emotional mass on Wednesday in which cardinals thanked the outgoing pontiff for his service and doffed their mitres in a sign of respect.

The pope waved and smiled at the crowd, appearing relieved following his momentous announcement on Monday, which will make him only the second pope to resign in the Church's 2 000-year history and the first to do so in 700 years.

His final homily was a hard-hitting one. He condemned the "hypocrisy" of those who use their religion just for show and urged an end to "rivalry" and "divisions" within a Church that has been plagued in recent years by a series of scandals.

The rumour mill over who could succeed Benedict is already in full swing. No clear favourite has emerged yet, but there are strong candidates across the world - Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America.

For the good of the church

The Vatican said the pope would speak at Thursday's meeting starting at 1030 GMT about his personal experiences as a young reformer at the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, which changed the face of the Catholic Church.

Since then, Benedict has become far more conservative, trying to turn back the clock on more leftist currents in Catholicism. At the same time, he sought to rekindle the religious fervour of that time during his eight-year pontificate.

At his weekly general audience on Wednesday, the pope told thousands of cheering supporters that he was resigning "for the good of the Church.

"Keep praying for me, for the Church and for the future pope," he added.

The pope has said he plans to step down on 28 February and retire to a quiet life in a Vatican monastery, setting up an unprecedented situation in which a pope and his predecessor will live within a stone's throw of each other.

Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi says the ex-pope - who will revert to his previous name of Joseph Ratzinger - could continue to provide some kind of spiritual guidance for his successor, but his role and title are still unclear.

Successor by Easter

The run-up to the resignation will be a combination of public engagements and private prayer - with much of next week taken up by spiritual reflection during a period of penitence in the Christian calendar before Easter.

On the eve of his departure, the pope will hold an audience in St Peter's Square - an event where thousands are expected to bid a final farewell to the contested but respected leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

The Vatican has said it expects the Conclave of Cardinals, meeting behind closed doors under Michelangelo's famous frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, to elect Benedict's successor by Easter, which this year falls on 31 March.

The next pope will have to face up to the problems posed by rising secularism in much of the Western world; the need not just to stamp out the problem of clerical child abuse but to investigate thousands of past cases.

Another challenge to the Church as it moves forward is legislation being adopted in several countries to allow gay marriage. The new pope will also have to deal with shifting attitudes to divorce, abortion, the ordination of women and priestly celibacy.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...