Pope Benedict ‘will not interfere’

Letters, Normal

The National,Wednesday 13th of February, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI will not interfere in the affairs of his successor after his decision to resign later this month, the pontiff’s brother has said.
Georg Ratzinger told the BBC the Pope would only “make himself available” if he were needed.
The Pope said on Monday he would resign after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic church because he was too old to continue at the age of 85.
The Vatican now says it expects a new pontiff to be elected before Easter.
Pope Benedict XVI will bid farewell to his followers in a final audience in St Peter’s Square on Feb 27, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said.
This will be the day before he officially steps down.
The unexpected development – the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years – surprised go­vernments, Vatican-watchers and even the Pope’s closest aides.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 after John Paul II’s death.
The BBC said, in theory, there had never been anything stopping Pope Benedict or any of his predecessors from stepping aside.
Under the Catholic church’s governing code, Canon Law, the only conditions for the validity of such a resignation are that it be made freely and be properly published.
But resignation is extremely rare: the last pontiff to step aside was Pope Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415 amid a schism within the church.
Speaking to the BBC from his home in Regensburg, Germany, Ratzinger said his brother had been advised by his doctor not to take any more transatlantic trips and had been considering stepping down for months.
“When he got to the second half of his 80s, he felt that his age was showing and that he was gradually losing the abilities he may have had and that it takes to fulfil this office properly.”
He said the resignation was part of a “natural process”.
“Where he’s needed, he will make himself available, but he will not want to want to intervene in the affairs of his successor,” he said.
He later admitted that he had been “very surprised” by his brother’s move but saw “the reasons behind the decision”.
The next pontiff will be chosen by members of a 117-strong conclave held in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.
Analysts say Europeans are still among the favourites, including the current Archbishop of Milan, Angelo Scola, and Christoph Schoenbron, a former Austrian student of the current Pope.
But strong candidates could emerge from Africa and Latin America, which both have very large Catholic populations.
Among the names being mentioned are Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson and Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria.
Ratzinger said he believed the next pontiff would be another European and not from Latin America or Africa.
“I am convinced there will be a pope from one of these countries at some point,” he said.
The Pope was to retire to the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo when he leaves office, the Vatican said, before moving into a renovated monastery used by cloistered nuns for “a period of prayer and reflection”