VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI announced he would resign Feb. 28. President Obama has ordered him to do so.
President Obama hasn’t been happy with Pope Benedict XVI for the last four years. Pope Benedict has not been an adversary to the President, but he hasn’t help the President change the world’s mind on gay marriage, abortion and removal of religion from the public square.
President Obama flew to Rome over the weekend and then, last night, Pope Benedict shocked the world by announcing his retirement. He is the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March. Rumors are that President Obama has invited himself to the conclave.
Pope Benedict was not happy with the deal the Vatican made with President Obama, but felt he had no choice but to resign.
The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals.
He emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope — the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide — requires “both strength of mind and body.” And he reportedly added that the “American President has a lot of influence on other countries, including The Vatican.”
The Pope’s message to his followers did not, however, mention President Obama. The Pope said:
“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, 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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.
“However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary — strengths which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants.
Benedict called his choice “a decision of great importance for the life of the church.”
Vice President Joe Biden is a Catholic and rumors are that he has asked President Obama to appoint him Pope. Pope Joe Biden. The White House had “no comment” on Biden’s request.