Pope ‘will not interfere’ in choosing of successor
Pope Benedict XVI will not interfere in choosing his successor after his shock decision to resign at the end of the month, the pontiff’s brother has said.
Georg Ratzinger told the BBC the Pope would only “make himself available” if he is needed.
Benedict 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 Pope to be elected before Easter.
The unexpected development – the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years – surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even Benedict’s closest aides.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 after John Paul II’s death.
The BBC says that in theory there has 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 Pope to step aside was Pope Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415 amid a schism within the Church.
Meanwhile, Catholics all over the world will on February 13, mark this year’s Ash Wednesday, signifying the commencement of the 40-day Lenten season.
Spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Msgr. Gabriel Osu, said this in a statement on Tuesday.
According to him “Ash Wednesday ushers in the Lenten Season.
“A forty-day period of penance, reflection and fasting prepares us for Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.
“It is a period of conversion, self- denial, renewal, reconciliation, change and growth; it is about denying self for the life of others,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted Msgr. Osu as saying in the statement.
He said that the hall mark of Ash Wednesday was the marking of the forehead of Catholic faithful with ashes, making the “sign of the cross” as a reminder of their sinful nature.
Osu said that in the Archdiocese of Lagos, the Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins, would be expected to lead other clergies to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and administer ashes on the foreheads of the faithful.