For the first time in 600 years, a pope has stepped down. People from all around the world were shocked at the astonishing announcement. The current pope, Pope Benedict XVI, relinquished his title on February 28, 2012. In the declaration of his resignation, the pope wrote in Latin that due to his advanced age of 85, he is no longer the best qualified to manage the church.
The Pope’s resignation has raised many questions including, who will replace the pope and should the Pope be able to vote? Cardinals at the Vatican City go through a traditional ritual to pick the new pope. The cardinals gather in the Sistine Chapel and light a fire in the chimney. The chimney emits black smoke until a majority of cardinals vote for one candidate. When the cardinals reach their decision, the chimney’s smoke turns white to notify the rest of the world that they have chosen a new pope. So far, Vatican officials say that the Pope will not vote directly, but his presence will be felt as he selected 67 of the 117 cardinals.
Another question is what will the Pope be called after he resigns and where will he live? A new name has not yet been selected, but some ideas are Bishop Emertis of Rome and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger which was his previous name. Representatives from the Vatican say he will live in the Vatican’s monastery.
The Pope’s retirement has caused many different reactions.
“I really look up to the Pope and he really let me down on this one,” said San Marcos freshman Malia Michelle. “I cried a little bit this morning. I want to be the first woman pope.”
Freshman Emily Imperato had a different opinion on the matter.
“I think it’s good that the Pope is taking steps to care for his health,” said Imperato.
San Marcos social studies teacher Mr. Ramirez voiced his opinion on the matter as well.
“I think it’s good that the Pope is choosing to take care of his health. I think the Catholic Church should choose a younger and more moderate person to replace him,” said Ramirez.
While many hold the pope in high regard, some have mixed feelings about the Pope’s resignation.
“I think the Pope is covering up many of the scandals the church has had in the last few years,” said freshman Clare Hubbel.
This subject is very controversial and the world awaits for the next pope to be chosen.