On Sunday, Feb. 24, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated what would be his last prayer ceremony to the public in St. Peter’s Square, according to CNN. This follows his shocking announcement earlier this month that he would be the first pope to resign in 600 years. His last official acting day as pope will be today, Feb. 28.
His resignation from the papacy has led to many questions all over the world. These range from simple ones, such as how the soon-to-be ex-pope plans to live out his remaining days in retirement. But there are other serious questions and speculations, such as the true reasons for the pope’s resignation, as well as several scandals that have plagued the Catholic Church, according to CNN.
When Benedict announced that he planned to resign, the 85-year-old claimed it was due to his advanced age, according to The Wall Street Journal. To many observers, this appeared to be somewhat plausible, since they believed the pope appeared tired. Nevertheless, it still surprised many due to the fact that the pope traditionally serves until death.
Darker rumors have begun to circulate, particularly in the Italian media. According to CNN, there were speculations that his decision was the result of a sex scandal regarding other church figures. These still remain as speculations.
Other rumors which have persisted appear much more viable. Many link the pope’s resignation to the growing priest abuse scandals within the Catholic Church. Although these scandals had been prevalent before Benedict XVI, their prevalence increased through greater media coverage. Many have accused the pope of not doing enough to bring the issue to the table. Others agree that he has addressed the topic but has done little to stop the spread of such activity.
Most agree that the next pope will have a lot more work to do when handling the abuse scandal.
Upon finishing his final sermon, the pope recited the Angelus prayer. His papacy will officially end tonight, Feb. 28.
According to a Vatican spokesman, the pope plans to lead a reclusive life in a monastery in the Vatican, under the title of
Information from The Wall Street Journal and CNN was used in the report.