Loading
Pope decided to resign after Cuba trip, Vatican advisor says
Greg Burke, Holy See's secretary of state media advisor. Credit: Estefania Aguirre/CNA.
Greg Burke, Holy See's secretary of state media advisor. Credit: Estefania Aguirre/CNA.

.- Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to step down from his office was made soon after his trip to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012, according to a senior communications officer at the Vatican.

“What's interesting is how long ago this decision was made, shortly after the Pope's trip to Cuba, which was in March of last year,” said Vatican advisor Greg Burke.

On Feb. 11, Pope Benedict XVI announced to a gathering of cardinals in Rome that he no longer has the strength to carry out the office of the papacy and will resign on Feb. 28. He is 85 years of age.

Burke confirmed that the decision was made months ago, after a six-day trip during which the pontiff was described as visibly tired and speaking with a strained voice.

Burke's comments countered media rumors that the decision to retire was tied to the scandal of Pope Benedict's one-time butler, Paolo Gabriele, who stole confidential Vatican documents and leaked them to the media. The decision in March “was before the whole butler story even broke,” Burke observed.

His statement echoed the comments of Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, who explained at a recent press conference that “the trip to Cuba and Mexico, due to his fatigue, was another reason in the development of Benedict XVI's decision, but not its cause,” according to the Vatican Information Service.

“He did not resign the pontificate because he is ill, but because of the fragility that comes with old age,” Fr. Lombardi stressed.

The Vatican spokesman also acknowledged that the Pope has had a pacemaker for years and recently underwent surgery to replace the batteries in the device, although he said that this procedure “had no impact on his decision.”

Father Georg Ratzinger, the brother of Pope Benedict, has told reporters that the pontiff was advised by his doctor months ago not to make further transatlantic trips.

The decision has been a long-time coming, Burke noted.

“We should have all paid a lot more attention to the fact that the Pope prayed not once, but twice before the tomb of Celestine V. He obviously knew what Celestine was feeling when he stepped down,” the analyst observed.

Saint Celestine V became the first Pope to resign from the position in 1294. Pope Benedict visited the saint's relics twice during his papacy. In 2009, he prayed at the tomb and left his own pallium on top of it. And again in 2010, he visited the cathedral of Sulmona to visit the relics of St. Celestine and pray before his predecessor.

Burke also affirmed that there will be no problem of “competing popes” after the pontiff's resignation goes into effect on Feb. 28.

He explained that “if Pope Benedict still wanted to have influence, he wouldn't have stepped down.”

Tags: Pope Benedict, Cuba, Pope Resignation


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
25

Liturgical Calendar

April 25, 2014

Friday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 21:1-14

Gospel
Date
04/25/14
04/24/14
04/23/14

Daily Readings


Saint of the Day

St. Mark, the Evangelist »

Saint
Date
04/24/14

Homily of the Day

Jn 21:1-14

Homily
Date
04/25/14
04/24/14
04/23/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: