The tweet that changed the world: February 11th marks 10 years since Benedict XVI resigned

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February 11 marks the 10th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation—a historical event that changed the way people saw the papacy. 

Italian journalist, Giovanna Chirri, was the first to break the news of the resignation to the world—all because she understands Latin.

Chirri says that Pope Benedict's declaration left many shocked and confused because not everyone understood what he was saying. Even some cardinals did not fully grasp what was happening. Once people had time to process the statement, the question many began to ask was why now?


2012 had been a terrible year. There had been the whole issue of Vatileaks—the leaking of documents by a disloyal butler. And then a little bit before that, there had been the whole clergy sexual abuse matter. 2013, however, was a little bit quieter, a little more relaxed. So honestly, I just didn't expect it. For me, the resignation was unthinkable.

Pope Benedict said he was stepping down because his “advanced age” made him “no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.” It was the first time in centuries that a Pope had resigned. Yet, Chirri says Pope Benedict didn't do it as an escape, but as a final papal act of service to the Church.


The resignation was not an escape, but a revolutionary act because he raised this issue. First of all, he showed that he was living the papacy as a service, showing that the Pope is a servant of God and the Vicar of Christ. Because otherwise, he could not have left such a powerful role so easily.

But Chirri also believes that reducing Benedict XVI's papacy to the resignation is wrong as he did so much to help the Church through difficult times.


I think also in the fight against abuse he laid a series of steps that then continued with Pope Francis. But he was the forerunner.
The fight for economic and financial transparency remains a very great achievement in his pontificate.

Pope Benedict will forever be remembered as the Pope who resigned and Chirri will go down in history as the first journalist to break the news to the world—proof that Latin is far from a dead language.


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