It has shocked the world. The reason for it is unclear. Reuters reported that the reason was not because of illness nor to external pressures that Pope Benedict xvi suddenly decided to resign. The pope gave February 28, four days following the Italian elections, as the operative date for stepping down from office.
“Pope Benedict has no specific illness and his decision to resign was taken with no outside pressure, the Vatican spokesman said on Monday after the pontiff’s shock announcement that he would step down at the end of this month. Father Federico Lombardi said the 85-year-old pope’s decision was not due to an illness, but to a progressive decline in his strength, which was normal in a man of his age” (Reuters, February 11).