Pope Benedict XVI Resigns


For the first time in over 600 years a pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church, has resigned from the papacy. On February 28, 2013 Benedict XVI stepped down as the highest Catholic official and stated that he will become an ordinary pilgrim. In such a situation the College of Cardinals leads the church until a conclave determines the new pope.

The man who was born as Joseph Ratzinger, will still be able to carry his papal name, but will be referred to as pope emeritus. The Fisherman’s Ring, the symbol of papacy will also be destroyed. After resignation the pope was flown to his summer residence Castel Gandolfo near Rome. Later on he will be taken to monastery near the Italian capital.

About two and a half weeks before his official resignation the pope read out a letter in which he decided to step down as head of the church, because he was not healthy enough to master the religious problems of over 1 billion Catholics.

In his last speech in front of the assembly of cardinals in the Vatican, Benedict XVI said that he would pray for the wellbeing of the church and for the new pope, once he is elected.

During his papacy Benedict XVI was confronted with a series of scandals including birth control, the role of women in the church and accusations of priests sexually abusing children. In Europe the Roman Catholic church is confronted with protests of not being liberal enough. More and more Catholics are leaving the Church.


Pope Benedict XVI shortly after resignation

Pope Benedict XVI - Kancelaria Prezydenta RP - prezydent.pl


Related Topics



  • abuse= to treat someone in a very bad way
  • accusation = a statement  that says someone has done something wrong or against the law
  • assembly = meeting, gathering
  • billion = a thousand million
  • birth control = the method of having the number of children you want
  • conclave = a secret meeting of cardinals, in which they vote for a new pope
  • confront = deal with, meet
  • determine = choose
  • elect = vote for, choose
  • head = highest person, boss
  • master = deal with
  • monastery = place where monks and priests live
  • official = representative
  • ordinary = normal
  • papacy = being pope
  • papal = about the pope
  • pilgrim = a religious person who travels to a holy place
  • pray = say words to God
  • refer to= call
  • residence =place where a person lives
  • resign = step down; give up a job
  • series = many
  • state = to say officially
  • wellbeing = feeling of being happy and good