Schmidt Wrote: Washington Post, February 11, 2013: Pope Benedict XVI to resign, citing age and waning energy
"LONDON — Recognizing what he described as his failing strength of “mind and body,” Pope Benedict XVI on Monday announced that he would become the first pontiff to resign since 1415.
"Benedict’s decision to step down Feb. 28 means that for the first time in almost six centuries, there will be a living former pope looking on as his successor leads the Catholic church."
He is 85 years old. What does that mean for the Catholic Church?
Dutch Wrote: The following was posted today; it shows that this church remains just about as our government a political organization, just there for the money.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — For an institution devoted to eternal light, the Vatican has shown itself to be a master of smokescreens since Pope Benedict XVI's shock resignation announcement.
On Thursday, the Vatican spokesman acknowledged that Benedict hit his head and bled profusely while visiting Mexico in March. Two days earlier the same man acknowledged that Benedict has had a pacemaker for years, and underwent a secret operation to replace its battery three months ago.
And as the Catholic world reeled from shock over the abdication, it soon became clear that Benedict's post-papacy lodgings have been under construction since at least the fall. That in turn put holes in the Holy See's early claims that Benedict kept his decision to himself until he revealed it.
Vatican secrecy is legendary and can have tragic consequences — as the world learned through the church sex abuse scandal in which bishops quietly moved abusive priests without reporting their crimes.
And the secrecy is institutionalized from such weighty matters to the most trivial aspects of Vatican life.
"You have to understand that actually every Vatican employee and official takes an oath of secrecy when they assume their job," said John Thavis, author of "The Vatican Diaries," an investigation into the workings of the Holy See. "And this isn't something that is taken lightly. They swear to keep secret any office matters and anything pertaining to the pope."
One of the most famous cases of Vatican secrecy was the Holy See's efforts to cover up the fact that Pope John Paul I's dead body was discovered by a nun. The eventual revelation helped fuel conspiracy theories over the death of the pope who ruled for only 33 days in 1978.
The Vatican is so obsessed with secrecy that the first and only official confirmation that John Paul II had Parkinson's disease was in his death certificate.
The Vatican justifies itself by arguing that its officials are holders of the divine truth, unaccountable to worldly laws. In particular, the pope's word is the final say on any issue — infallible on some doctrinal matters. But groups representing sex abuse victims, and other Catholics angered by the scandal, have been demanding modern standards of accountability and calling for reforms.