" Pope Benedict XV1 retires from his ministry of Bishop of Rome today, having publicly announced his intentions to do so on the 11th, February, 2013. He succeeded to become the Pontiff in 2005 and created a bit of a stir with the press then for having been a member of Hitler Youth during his formative years in Southern Germany. The stated reasons for the 85- year-old pope steeping down instead of dying in post is the old-fashioned one of age simply impairing his capacity to function. How refreshing to hear this from the leader of billions of Roman Catholics across the world at a time when nothing short of being imprisoned will lead some political figures to resign from their positions of privilege. I would love to see enumerable leaders of various institutions, states and governments in the world today follow suit. When Pope Benedict visited Great Britain in 2010, he didn't pull his punches in his remarks and accused society of pursuing aggressive sexualisation and the marginalisation of Christianity. He is not the first pope to have resigned, but is the only pope to have done so in the past six-hundred years. There is a precedent of at least four and possibly six previous Popes who have resigned:• "Pontian in 235, when he realised that he would never return from exile."
• "Silverius, who resigned in 537 under imperial threat, while also in exile."
• "John XVIII in 1009, who is thought to have resigned shortly before death."
• "Benedict IX, who abdicated in 1045 in favour of his godfather, John Gratian."
• "Celestine V in 1294, the aged hermit."
• "Gregory XII, the last pope to have resigned, in 1415, as part of a negotiated settlement at the Council of Constance to bring an end to the Great Western Schism (1378." William Forde: February 28th, 2013.