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Some events are so unusual that they are recorded in the history of humankind. We are experiencing such a moment right now.

Pope emeritus, His Holiness Benedict XVI’s resignation shocked the Catholic community. Popes are elected to serve until death. Papal resignations are so rare that only five are documented in the history of the Catholic Church.

This resignation is not only important to the Catholic Church but also to the world at large because the pope is a world leader. Approximately one-third of the world population is Christian and more than half of all Christians are Catholic. That means that a current pope shepherds more than a billion followers.

His Holiness is a brilliant man and the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. He advised Pope John Paul on doctrinal issues. His literary works guide not only members of the Church but also her leaders. No doubt His Holiness fully understands the ramifications and precedence he sets and believes his decision is in the best interest of the whole Church.

News coverage will continue with this story as a new pope is elected. Most popes were of European or Middle Eastern descent but we have a few American contenders. In the remote chance that one should be elected, we will once again be making history.

For up-to-date and accurate information, go to the Vatican website at: http://www.news.va/en

©2013 Mary K. Doyle

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