Feb 21, 2013

From "As It Is"(VOA Special English News Program) 3

The religious leader surprised the Roman Catholic officials when he announced his resignation at the Vatican on Monday. He said he was no longer strong enough to carry out his duties as head of the World's largest Christian group.

The 85-year-old Pope told the Vatican officials that his health had worsened in recent month. He said he had to recognize what he called his "incapacity to adequately fulfill" the ministry entrusted to him. On Tuesday, the Vatican confirmed that Pope Benedict has had a pace maker for years to help control his heart-beat. 

Pope Benedict spoke to people gathered in St. Peter's Square last Sunday. He talked about peace, harmony and gratitude to Heaven. Few people knew that this would be one of the last times he would speak publicly as Pope.

Many people were shocked by the Pope's resignation. The head of Anglican church said he was of "heavy heart" after hearing the news.

In South Africa, the Archbishop of Pretoria said the continent's Catholics would remember the pope fondly. 

And Chief Rabbi of Israel said Pope Benedict had improved ties between Judaism and Christianity.

 President Obama and his wife Michel extended their thanks and prayers to the Pope. And 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Pope Benedict remains one of the most significant religious thinkers of our time.  

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