Bookmark and Share

The Pope says he is stepping down

Feb 11th, 2013 - International News

— Pope Benedict XVI said Monday he lacks the strength to fulfill his duties and on Feb. 28 will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. The announcement sets the stage for a conclave in March to elect a new leader for world's 1 billion Catholics.

The 85-year-old pope announced the bombshell in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, surprising even his closest collaborators, even though Benedict had made clear in the past he would step down if he became too old or infirm to do the job.

Benedict called his choice "a decision of great importance for the life of the church."

Indeed, the move allows the Vatican to hold a conclave before Easter to elect a new pope, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope doesn't have to be observed.

It will also allow Benedict to hold great sway over the choice of his successor. He has already hand-picked the bulk of the College of Cardinals — the princes of the church who will elect the next pope — to guarantee his conservative legacy and ensure an orthodox future for the church.

There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner — the same situation when Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.

The Vatican stressed that no specific medical condition prompted Benedict's decision, but in recent years, the pope has slowed down significantly, cutting back his foreign travel and limiting his audiences. He now goes to and from the altar in St. Peter's Basilica on a moving platform, to spare him the long walk down the aisle. Occasionally he uses a cane.

His 89-year-old brother, Georg Ratzinger, said doctors had recently advised the pope not to take any more trans-Atlantic trips.

"His age is weighing on him," Ratzinger told the dpa news agency. "At this age my brother wants more rest."

Benedict emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope — the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide — requires "both strength of mind and body."

Local News

Local News RSS

Drive-by shooting kills 17-year-old

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a 17-year-old high school basketball player has died following a drive-by shooting in the western Michigan community of Muskegon Heights.

Police say...

Utility says it's committed to plant site reuse

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — Officials with Consumers Energy said they're committed to helping find a new use for the site of a coal-fired power plant in western Michigan that's scheduled to close in two ...

Read More Local News

State News

State News RSS

Senate approves 'Pure Michigan' trails legislation

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate has unanimously approved legislation to recognize top-notch trails as "Pure Michigan" trails and to create a mobile app for trail users.

Five bills sent ...

Michigan murderer who escaped scheduled for court

IONIA, Mich. (AP) — A convicted murderer who escaped from a Michigan prison in February faces a court hearing Wednesday on escape, carjacking and kidnapping charges.

Michael Elliot is being arrai...

Read More State News

National News

National News RSS

US durable goods orders up 2.6 percent in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods posted a solid gain for the second straight month in March. A key category that signals business investment plans incre...

Backers, opponents of Michigan ban react to ruling

DETROIT (AP) — A woman who successfully sued the University of Michigan over racial preferences says the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold a state ban on using race in university admissions is...

Read More National News

International News

International News RSS

3 killed in Afghanistan hospital were American doctors

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Three American physicians are dead and a U.S. nurse is wounded after an Afghan security guard opened fire on a group of foreign doctors at a Kabul hospital.

The shooting...

UN study: Cellphones can improve literacy

PARIS (AP) — A study by the U.N. education agency says cellphones are getting more and more people to read in countries where books are rare and illiteracy is high.

Paris-based UNESCO says 774 mi...

Read More International News

Sports News

Sports News RSS

Semien's slam lifts White Sox over Tigers 6-4

DETROIT (AP) — Marcus Semien's seventh-inning grand slam lifted the Chicago White Sox over the Detroit Tigers 6-4 Wednesday night.

Jose Abreu hit another long home run for the White Sox, but it w...

Tigers hang on to beat the White Sox

DETROIT (AP) — Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer, Justin Verlander pitched seven solid innings and the Detroit Tigers held on for an 8-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.

Cabr...

Read More Sports News

Health News

Health News RSS

Potential Treatment for Spinal Cord Injury Patients

LONDON (AP) — Doctors in London researching spinal cord injuries say they've had success using an experimental treatment on four patients now.

They've gotten them to stand and move their legs by ...

Updating Nutrition Labels

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nutrition facts label on the back of food packages is getting a makeover.

The Food and Drug Administration says knowledge about nutrition has evolved since the early 19...

Read More Health News