Pope Benedict XVI announces resignation

Published On February 11, 2013 | By | News
Pope Benedict XVI at The Vatican. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Pope Benedict XVI at The Vatican. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Compiled by Marco Di Meo

Pope Benedict XVI announced today that he will resign on Feb. 28, making him the first pontiff to step down in almost 600 years.

It was announced on Vatican Radio’s website with the Pope citing his health as the reason for his decision.

Papal Historian, Anura Guruge, told Humber News reporter Elton Hobson, that a new Pope will be appointed soon.

“The earliest you can have an election is 15 days, the latest is 20 days,” he said.

The election process for the new Pope is called a conclave and has been happening for hundreds of years.

“The notion of a conclave, which is a sequestered, closed election, goes back to 1294,” he said.

In order to be appointed Pope the elect must receive a 2/3 majority vote of the 118 cardinals attending the conclave.

“The first person to receive a two thirds plus one majority is asked by the most senior cardinal there ‘Do you accept this election has been lawful and valid?’ Once he says yes to that he becomes Pope immediately,” Guruge added.

Once the election is complete the cardinals will burn their ballots with chemicals that create either a white smoke, signalling a new pope, or black smoke, signalling they haven’t elected a new pope.

CBC is reporting that there are three Canadian cardinals who will be amongst the group that will pick a new pontiff; Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Vatican’s office for bishops, Cardinal Thomas Collins, archbishop of Toronto, and Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, retired archbishop of Montreal.

In a press conference Monday afternoon, Collins addressed whether he thinks he will become Pope.

“No I haven’t really been thinking much. Nobody at all was expecting it this morning, I think to all it was quite a shock.”

“I think it’s too early to speculate on who will be the next Pope, I think it’s a time to thank God for Pope Benedict,”Collins added.

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