Pope Benedict XVI Controversy: Why Did He Resign Before His Death?

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The Pope Benedict XVI controversy has been trending since the former Catholic head died this December.

A well-known religious leader, Pope Benedict XVI, presided over the Vatican City State and the Catholic Church.

He was elected as Pope in the papal conclave of 2005 following the death of Pope John Paul II and held the position from April 2005 until resigning in February 2013.

Likewise, Benedict was selected to be known as “Pope emeritus” upon his resignation, the title he held until his death in December 2022, aged 95.

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Pope Benedict XVI Controversy: Church Embroiled In Scandals 

Pope Benedict’s papacy was marked by a rather conservative defense of church doctrine and challenges over dealing with the clergy sex abuse scandal, reports PBS.

Following the Vatican leaks or Vati-Leaks of 2012, which exposed corruption, power struggles, sex, and blackmailing scandals in the Vatican, the Church and the Pope found themselves in hot waters.

Although in the official resignation announcement, a loss of stamina and his “advanced age” at 85 was cited as the reason, some skeptics find it hard to believe.

The Pope said he was leaving freely and “for the good of the church.” However, some believe there was more to it.

In recent times, Benedict’s efforts to re-energize the Roman Catholic Church were overshadowed by the unresolved sexual abuse scandal in the clergy.

Pope Benedict XVI, A Traditionalist Surrounded by Scandal. (Source: Rolling Stone)

During his eight-year service, Benedict sometimes apologized for the abuse and met with victims. However, he could not escape the truth that the Church had been shielding priests accused of molestation.

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Severe allegations that priests, nuns, popes, and other church members had been preying on children and that the bishops covered up for them were speculated to be catalysts for Benedict’s resignation.

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Official Account: Why Did Pope Benedict XVI Resign Before His Death?

Benedict XVI resigned from the papacy on February 28, 2013, citing his advanced age. He became the first head to quit since Gregory XII in 1415.

In a statement, Benedict cited his deteriorating physical and mental strength and the demands of the papacy as the reason.

The announcement was made on February 11, stating that the modern world was changing so profoundly and quickly that someone of his era and age was “no longer suited” to the papacy.

Addressing his cardinals in Latin, he briefly announced his departure. He also assured that he would keep serving the Vatican “through a life dedicated to prayer.”

At the age of almost 86 years on the effective date of his retirement, Benedict was the fourth-oldest person to hold the office of the Pope.

The move was unexpected since all popes in modern times have held office until death. Benedict was the first to resign without external pressure since Celestine V in 1294.

Pope Benedict XVI resignationPope Benedict XVI reads his resignation in Latin at the Vatican. (Source: Catholic Weekly)

The Vatican confirmed that the resignation was not due to any specific illness but to “avoid that exhausting rush of Easter engagements.”

Following two weeks of ceremonial farewells, Benedict left office at the appointed time, and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) succeeded him on March 13, 2013.

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On the first anniversary of his resignation, Benedict wrote to La Stampa, denying speculation he had been forced to step down.

“There is not the slightest doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the ministry,” he said, dismissing speculation about its invalidity as absurd.

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Source: ASIA EDU

Madhuri Shetty
Manoj Gadtaula

Manoj Gadtaula is a young Indian man from Mangalore who is constantly on the lookout for new things and loves to explore. Madhuri has a great passion for helping others and motivating people. She researched the careers, biographies, lifestyles, and net worths of celebrities..

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