Roman Catholics woke up this morning to the surprising news that Pope Benedict XVI retiring. That news was something that Omaha Archdiocese spokesman Father Ryan Lewis wasn’t expecting.
Father Lewis says he was shocked with the news but then looking back he says there were a few “hints” this could have been a possibility. He says there were few appearances on Pope Benedict’s calendar and it was obvious he was having a difficult time with movement. Father Lewis says Pope Benedict was elected at age 78 and stated from the start he would step down if he felt he could not perform required duties.
85 year old Pope Benedict had stated that he does not have the physical strength to continue with is duties. The pope did suffer a minor stroke more than ten years ago but fully recovered. Arthritis is making it difficult for him to get around.
The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory back in 1415.