Prayers are being said in East Anglian churches for the pope who has announced he is to

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resign his office after declaring he was too old to carry on as head of the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI will quit on February 28, the Vatican said today, adding the announcement was a surprise.

A statement from Father Mark Hackeson, spokesman for the Diocese of East Anglia, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Holy Father at this time. His statement makes clear that his decision comes after long consideration and prayer, and illustrates his complete commitment to the church and her mission.”

A Vatican statement said the pope was unable to continue in office due to his age and diminishing strength, he is 85, and the papacy will remain vacant until a successor is elected.

He is the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.

The pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals this morning.

“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,” he told the cardinals. “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 recognise my incapacity to adequately the ministry entrusted to me.”

See tomorrow’s paper for more on this story.

18 comments

  • [Post removed by Moderator]

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    Frank Fryup

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

  • nrg

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • Habemus Brian Dowling?

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • Hang on where did it go?

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    Frank Fryup

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • If you are chosen by God, who do you hand in your notice to?? Just a thought.

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    Andy T

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

  • What no comments?

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    Frank Fryup

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

  • Oh for goodness sake, get your quotes right: "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 steer the ship of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me." The bark of St Peter!!

    Report this comment

    Frank Fryup

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

  • gosh I've been zapped by archant gods

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    nrg

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • he looked pretty fail

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • Well done the pope.. He accepts that he cannot do his job.. It comes to us all... You cannot keep pushing him around on wheels like a carnival attraction..... Time to move on and pick a new pope.. Nobody keeps going forever..

    Report this comment

    Lionel

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • Is he from Norwich? I'm not sure I understand the relevance to EN24.

    Report this comment

    martin

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • Who could possibly replace him? Maybe someone in tune with the "modern" world, like Brian Dowling.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • Any coincidence in the Pope resigning today, and asteroid 2012 DA14 having a very close encounter (24,000km) on Friday?

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • Apparently this is the 3rd most commented story...

    Report this comment

    Frank Fryup

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • more plumes of holy smoke to go up the chimney then???..tis leave a nasty carbon papal footprint then....can we have a lady one now please or a gay version.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • why invite comments only to publish none?

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • nrg

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • Well done the pope.. He accepts that he cannot do his job.. It comes to us all... You cannot keep pushing him around on wheels like a carnival attraction..... Time to move on and pick a new pope.. Nobody keeps going forever..

    Report this comment

    Lionel

    Monday, February 11, 2013

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