back to article Pope resigns months after launching social networking effort

Pope Benedict announced his resignation today, becoming the first pope to relinquish the leadership of the Catholic Church in six centuries - and just months after becoming the first pontiff to join Twitter. The 85-year-old will step down at the end of the month, clearing the way for a conclave to elect his successor. He is …

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  1. ElNumbre
    Pint

    My thoughts on the matter?

    My thoughts on the matter? Well, that would be an ecumenical matter.

    1. Anonymous Coward 15

      Re: My thoughts on the matter?

      Yes!

    2. Andrew Moore
      Coat

      Re: My thoughts on the matter?

      At least we know what he's giving up for lent.

      1. Graham Dawson
        Coat

        Re: My thoughts on the matter?

        Oh god, don't tell me I'm still on this fecking social network!

    3. Shagbag

      Thank God!

      Finally, he's going. My only hope is that he will be charged and stand trial for the crimes he has allegedly committed while in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. If he is innocent then he will finally have cleared his name over his alleged involvement in the harbouring of paedophiles. If not, he will be sent down and, upon his death, may he burn in hell. Either way, his continued occupation of the post has brought nothing but disgrace to the Catholic Church and undermined the good work done by those beneath it.

      1. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: Thank God!

        If he'd at least had the guts to say it was because of the cover-ups, he might have got some respect, but he's repeatedly refused to accept any real culpability.

        "If not, he will be sent down and, upon his death, may he burn in hell."

        Actually, is there not something in the Bible about those who are punished on Earth being let off the hook in the afterlife, and those who escape punishment on Earth being damned to eternal torment? Perhaps someone ought to remind him that the longer he denies any wrong-doing, the less time he's got to receive Earthly just before departing this mortal coil....

        (These revelations were the straw that broke the back of my dwindling faith. Now totally definitely agnostic.)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thank God! @the Indomitable Gall

          Sory, nate, "definitely agnostic' is an oxymoron!

      2. Fibbles
        Facepalm

        Re: Thank God!

        "Either way, his continued occupation of the post has brought nothing but disgrace to the Catholic Church and undermined the good work done by those beneath it."

        Yeh, because the Catholic church was squeaky clean before hand...

      3. t.est

        Re: Thank God!

        You're talking about Gods physical representation on earth, aren't you?

        Well at least if your actually believe in the catholic doctrine, father as he's called.

        Would not that be to profane and blaspheme?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      Re: My thoughts on the matter?

      Vatican City shocked as man seen as God's representative on Earth announces he is giving up on job

      Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww fuck.

      I need a new poster boy for my bedroom ceiling.

    5. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Time for the Pope Song?

      It's always time for the Pope Song.

  2. Karl H
    Trollface

    Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

    and saw the light

    1. My Alter Ego
      Flame

      Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

      Quite the opposite.

      If I didn't have such a strong belief that there is no god, that book would have put me off atheism. Richard Dawkins comes across as an arrogant asshole. In fact, I describe him as a Fundamental Atheist - his way is the only way, and anyone with an opposite view is an idiot.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

        "his way is the only way, and anyone with an opposite view is an idiot"

        amen

        1. t.est

          Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

          Yes it's fun how correct you are about him, he is more religious than the Catholics, just that the worship is not directed to a deity.

      2. Greg J Preece

        Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

        Richard Dawkins comes across as an arrogant asshole

        It's possible for a man to be arrogant and correct.

        1. AceRimmer
          Gimp

          Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

          "It's possible for a man to be arrogant and correct."

          I reject that reality

        2. AJ MacLeod

          Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

          It is, but then Dawkins is rarely correct on matters scientific... it's probably one of the reasons he likes to keep to the unfalsifiable philosophical storytelling side, as real science rather inconveniently usually proves him wrong (note in particular his repeated attempts at proving "bad design" in biology.)

          1. smudge Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

            Eh? I've read a few of Dawkins' books - not many, so I may have missed something.

            But surely one of his main points - indeed, one of the principles of evolution by natural selection - is that there is no design in nature, whether good, bad or indifferent.

            Where does Dawkins try to "prove bad desigh"?

            1. cyborg
              Mushroom

              Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

              The same place he is insufferably arrogant.

              I don't see it myself but I guess I must have some sort of visual deficiency that cannot be remedied without some sort of "vision".

              1. smudge Silver badge

                Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

                Actually, I agree about the arrogance, even though I'm on the side of rationality and science.

                Whenever he's arguing, whether in print or on film, he always seems to descend to snide, smartarse comments that do his case no good whatsoever.

                I jokingly used to say that I was on the "Richard Dawkins paramilitary wing of atheism", until he made such a tit of himself that it stopped being funny - if it ever was.

            2. t.est

              Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

              If they guy only would have understood natural selection and it's implication on the whole evolution.

              He's not factual in any sense, not in what he criticize or on what he promotes.

              The one calling him pope, nails the problem spot on.

        3. Stephen Channell
          Thumb Down

          Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

          It's possible for a man to be arrogant and correct... though maybe not on the horrific rape, torture and murder of the medical student in Mumbai (Dawkins couldn’t see what the fuss was about).

          If only “Pope” Dawkins had something to say on the “Humanist Delusion”

          1. zanto
            Headmaster

            Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

            It was Delhi.

        4. The Indomitable Gall

          Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

          "It's possible for a man to be arrogant and correct."

          However, it is usually impossible for an arrogant man to convince anyone else that he is correct. Dawkins is an expert at preaching to the choir such that the choir think he's actually said something meaningful, but his entire writing style is antagonistic, and no debate that starts with one party calling the other stupid ever bore fruit....

          1. Katie Saucey
            Meh

            Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

            "usually impossible for an arrogant man to convince anyone else that he is correct" ..except when they're the department head.

        5. t.est

          Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

          Problem is there are little correctness with Dawkin.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

        I've read Dawkin's God Delusion , I've also read the late great Chris Hitchen's God is not Great. In my case they're preaching to the already converted, I found both books enjoyable.

        I guess to someone who has fully bought into the "I must have an explanation for everything, and fill it in with an intelligent creator where we don't have a full explanation" then Dawkin's and Hitchen's will come across as arrogant.

        I honestly can't see how "The God Delusion" would put any atheist of atheism. I could see how it would antagonize The blindly faithful.

        The blindly faithful seem to be very untrusting of atheists. Atheists like me have been persecuted by the theists for centuries, so if we are a bit argumentative then that is because we are trying to guard against what we class as the craziness, wishful thinking and tortured illogic of theology, and don't wish for them to get into positions of power, or to let their crazy ideas enter our heads.

        Theocracy has to be the worst form of government I can think of, it not only has Big Brother / Daddy in the Sky, it is also detached from reality, and the people making its rules up don't even realise that humans are making the rules up , and say it is God's Law. That is crazy, and that is what we need to guard against.

        Yeah I'm a fundamental atheist, and proud, and I don't want nutters running any country I live in.

        I'd much rather have Richard Dawkin's in charge than true believer Tony Blair , The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Pope , or any other of the religiously deluded.

        1. Esskay
          Thumb Up

          Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

          I've read many (most?) of his books, and whilst it was a breath of fresh air after (catholic) high school, the more preachy books are becoming a bit cringe-worthy - I agree with many of his views, but not with the way he presents them - in many cases deliberately antagonistic, and seems to be happy to abandon the moral high ground and stoop to the level of the right wing hardliner religious set. I believe the moral high ground is worth a lot more than that.

          The books on evolution are a different story - he waffles on a bit, but The Selfish Gene among others is what sparked an interest in evolution, and an appreciation of the natural world for me. I'm sure there are some who disagree with his scientific views as well, but that's what science is all about.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

          AC mentioned "true believer Tony Blair "!

          Is not the man himself reported as saying "By their fruits you shall know them," so how do you mn\anage to equate these two terms?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

          Whilst i agree that fanatics of any religion (or any fanatics) should never be in a position of power, I do believe that your postulation is flawed as highlighted in your following statement:

          "or to let their crazy ideas enter our heads."

          You state that you believe in a more scientific view of life, (which I would agree with), but a proper scientist does not dismiss any idea or theory until proven false, (no matter how crazy). Sorry to burst your bubble, but writing books about God not existing does not prove the theory either way.

          I choose to keep an open mind about everything.

          1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

            Re: AC @ 06:24

            "a proper scientist does not dismiss any idea or theory until proven false, (no matter how crazy). Sorry to burst your bubble, but writing books about God not existing does not prove the theory either way.

            A proper scientist dismisses explanations that don't fit the evidence, e.g. fairies, gnomes, werewolves, trolls, yetis, gods etc. In this way they do not waste their time on nonsense.

            I choose to keep an open mind about everything."

            It's been said before bue bears repeating: By all means keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out.

            Expecting people to respect ideas with no demonstrable basis in reality is what's truly crazy.

            1. Graham Dawson

              Re: AC @ 06:24

              "A proper scientist dismisses explanations that don't fit the evidence"

              No. NO. NO. That's not science. A proper scientist does not dismiss anything, he rather proposes a hypothesis that fits the current empirical evidence and then devises tests to disprove it with the hope of popping up new evidence for or against the particular hypothesis in the process. He never dismisses an explanation. In science, no explanation is ever accepted as 100% immutable truth because new and peculiar things crop up all the time, therefore no explanation can truly be rejected. They are simply demonstrated to be very unlikely.

              It has been the case that explanations that didn't fit the current evidence later became accepted as valid when new evidence was brought to light after prediction by hypothesis. The theory of continental drift, for instance, did not fit "the current evidence" because nobody had yet discovered a viable mechanism, and it was thus rejected by the narrow-minded souls who you seem to evince as "proper scientists". It didn't fit the evidence, you see.

              Argue all you want about the existence of gods, or lack thereof, but get your bloody definitions right first otherwise you're just mouthing off without any basis in reality.

        4. t.est

          Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

          Just one question.

          You talk about those preaching to already converts.

          But then you say

          "I guess to someone who has fully bought into the "I must have an explanation for everything, and fill it in with an intelligent creator where we don't have a full explanation" then Dawkin's and Hitchen's will come across as arrogant."

          In what way aren't you one of the already converts. Why is it always assumed that a full explanation is only correct if there is no trace of creator/designer?

          And just because religion has gone all wrong, I agree with you on that part. Does not mean that the other extremity is all right and well. In fact it's fundamentalism just as the other is fundamentalism.

          Don't be blinded by others blindness. Hawing Dawkin's as your Pope would be no better. In fact it could become "nazi germany" all over again just other victims. Stop and think for your self instead and don't follow the blind leaders independent what type of leader they are.

          There are a few countries that have been run by atheists, and it's no more beautiful story than compared with the fundamentalistic theist ruler-ships. I can name a few from both sides, can you?

          1. cyborg
            Mushroom

            Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

            "There are a few countries that have been run by atheists, and it's no more beautiful story than compared with the fundamentalistic theist ruler-ships. I can name a few from both sides, can you?"

            Please do. And then please go onto explain how it is in any way sensible to lump in all people who are essentially only bound together by one philosophical statement - which is in essence a rejection of another one - as being in any way comparable to those who identify themselves as ascribing to a complete set of philosophical statements.

            Because if you want to argue Hitler was an athiest (when the story is far more complex than that) in the same way Richard Dawkins is an atheist and hence if Richard Dawkins was Pope there would be a Holocaust you are so missing the point your target might as well be in a parallel reality.

            Otherwise please continue on how the assertion "dieties don't exist," has any inductive logical outcomes on matters of morality, economics or politics that would be germain to the direction a country would take under the leadership of someone who held that particular assertion to be true.

      4. t.est

        Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"

        Your absolutely correct about Dawkins, and you described him quite gently.

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Church is definitely not a business.

    He's lasted 7 years. In industry, what CEO presiding over falling customer numbers, reduced income, and general staff dissatisfaction, would have lasted so long? Especially as his recipe for fixing the problems as "OK, let's do things like we did last century. Or preferably the one before."

    Even his takeover bid for the right wing of the Church of England was a dreadful flop.

    The Roman Catholic Church needs to get the headhunters in. Richard Branson might demand more changes than they liked before accepting the job ("Stuff celibacy and let's move to my private island"), Larry Ellison might feel Papal infallibility didn't go far enough, but surely there's someone out there with a good track record?

    Ah. Mark Zuckerberg. The very person.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

      The new CEO Archibishop of Canterbury was pretty much an outsider from the world of business. He hasn't shown any determination to spin off the dissenting subsidiaries.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

        He's only just got the job. Give him a chance to get in McKinsey and decide what to do with underperforming subsidiaries. Given that the Africans are net recipients of money and the Episcopalians and the Anglicans are cash generators, I think we can guess where this might end up.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

      Any CEO who was tainted with scandals that went to the heart of the business would have fallen on his sword much earlier.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

        Rupert Murdoch? Is that you?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

          Cant be Rupert Murdoch. I think he is a Jew!

          But stand to be corrected.

          1. Naughtyhorse

            Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

            if he's not, then he's certainly saved enough to become a member

          2. Mephistro Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: The Church is definitely not a business. (@ AC 11th February 2013 14:09 GMT Anonymous Coward)

            "Cant be Rupert Murdoch. I think he is a Jew!"

            Murdoch? offer him enough money and he will embrace Buddhism and become the next Dalai Lama. Turning him into a Christian should be cheaper, as Christianity is just another Judaic sect.

          3. Mike Richards

            Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

            Rupert Murdoch is not only a Catholic, he is a Papal Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

            As is Jimmy Savile.

            Clearly the entrance requirements might need tightening up.

            1. Simon Harris Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

              As is Jimmy Savile.

              Clearly the entrance requirements might need tightening up.

              I understand Jimmy Savile had tight entrance requirements!

            2. Tel Starr

              Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

              Papal Knight or Paypal Knight?

            3. Otto is a bear.

              Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

              I think you'll find Jimmy Savile is dead, so he isn't.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

          4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

            >I think he is a Jew

            There is a certain precedent for a Jew doing quite well in the christian church

            Of course you have to be crucified first .....

    3. Mike Richards

      Re: The Church is definitely not a business.

      'He's lasted 7 years. In industry, what CEO presiding over falling customer numbers, reduced income, and general staff dissatisfaction, would have lasted so long? Especially as his recipe for fixing the problems as "OK, let's do things like we did last century. Or preferably the one before."'

      We have all been wondering what it would take for Ballmer to step down from Microsoft.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plus ça change....

    Given that he has loaded the voting cardinals with conservatives - then the big debate is probably whether his successor is Italian, or English, African, or South American.

  5. Christian Berger Silver badge

    It takes a great man...

    ... to admit that ones strength of mind is deteriorating.

    Although he wrote that in Latin as far as I know, so that's a man saying he's to stupid for the job, who probably is still more intelligent than most heads of state. :)

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: It takes a great man...

      I'm not convinced the ability to use Latin is a sign of intelligence; just a sign of training (or of having a team of translators on standby).

      Perhaps he'd appreciate a farewell gift: maybe one of those t-shirts with the inscription 'Stand back: I'm going to try science.'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Christian

      A great man, in my opinion, wouldn't completely condemn others for their belief or what they stand for. Which is exactly what the pope has done regarding certain groups. Also the way he dealt with the whole pedophile incident was in my opinion hardly as great as it could have been.

      When looking back I'd say that his predecessor has accomplished a whole lot more during his 'reign'.

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: @ShelLuser

        Of course.

    3. Old Handle
      Thumb Up

      Re: It takes a great man...

      Yeah. I don't agree with him on... well much of anything. But ideology aside, his stepping down might be one of the most progressive things a pope has done in a long time. Reading between the lines--the reference to "today's world", etc.--it sounds like he intends to suggest that not just for himself, but in general, having popes stick around until they literally drop dead is not the way forward.

    4. Martin Budden Bronze badge
      Boffin

      Re: It takes a great man...

      Habet duos retorridam testiculos et male pendentes.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And as usual the new man (of course) for the job will be another bigoted individual who still thinks go-forth and multiply is good advice in a world of overcrowding.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In many walks of life when someone reaches the top of ambition's greasy pole - then sometimes they finally reveal a long-hidden reforming streak. Anyone Machiavellian enough to get to the top of such a powerful political organisation is equally capable of an apparently damascene conversion once they hold the reins themselves.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: go forth and multiply

      Thats just a mis-interpretation through censorship. What God actually told Adam and Eve was to F*** Off.

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: re: go forth and multiply

        Thats just a mis-interpretation through censorship. What God actually told Adam and Eve was to F*** Off.

        I always thought "go forth and Multiply" was more like a vague and inscrutable (as is His wont) warning against Adders.

        1. Michael Dunn
          Joke

          Re: re: go forth and multiply @Frumious Bandersnatch

          "warning against Adders." Yes but they'd use logs!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The world isn't overcrowded. It only looks overcrowded if you live in a heavily urbanised and crowded area. The entire population of the world could comfortably fit in western europe with a couple of acres apiece and still have room left over.

      Though that's something of a silly thought experiment...

      The actual problems with world population are down to one thing: lack of proper food storage. Approximately a third of the food produced today is lost to lack of storage. An entire third of the food we produce just left to rot because it can't be kept chilled or frozen.

      We already produce more food on less land than we did 50 years ago. If we crack that single problem of storage we could feed the entire world with food to spare, without adding a single acre to our productive farmland. We could even dial it back a bit and let more go back to a wild state. Oh but installing refrigeration and letting people live their lives just doesn't have the same impact as "we need to reduce the population somehow!" does it?

      Without immigration from the developing world, the developed world's population growth would be negative. Given, therefore, that the majority of population growth occurs almost entirely in the developing world, whenever I hear someone whining about the world being overpopulated I can't help but wonder if they have some deep-seated compulsion to prevent those awful darkies from breeding and are disguising their desire for ethnic cleansing as the noble pursuit of "saving the planet".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "and are disguising their desire for ethnic cleansing"

        Africa is becoming more and more urbanised. Farmers either grow cash crops for export or can't compete against the low local prices generated by food aid. Forests are stripped for fuel, and water used, in non-sustaining ways. Aid funding for any purpose is liable to disappear into the pockets of corrupt officials and rulers.

        The western world also had booming populations even in the early 20th century - when poor health care, social need, and little birth control resulted in uncontrolled family sizes often in double figures.

        It isn't a question of feeding the world's population from available produce - that will be a moving target like the Hare and Tortoise. The need is to stabilise the population so that everyone has the chance of a decent life. That's achieved by good governance, education, and reliable birth control.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And not listening to the sky-fairy fans telling ladies to basically become baby making machines.

      2. DanceMan
        FAIL

        @ AC 13:40

        Concerns about overpopulation have nothing to do with lack of food. All you're doing is revealing your lack of comprehension of the issue.

      3. Eenymeeny

        "Oh but installing refrigeration and letting people live their lives just doesn't have the same impact as "we need to reduce the population somehow!" does it?"

        Let's put it more simply, then: the world is too full of humans who consume megatons of resources that either cannot be replaced fast enough or cannot be replaced at all.

        I agree with you: overcrowding, like CO2, is a big fat juicy red herring.

        But humans like pretending that reducing their numbers and/or not producing a colourless, odorless gas is somehow going to stop resource consumption.

        As you say, they also like pretending that darkies need to stop having babies.

        In terms of population and/or overcrowding, however, the real "criminals" are countries whose citizens consume at a fantastic rate AND who maintain high birth rates to make more of these citizens as fast as possible.

        USA and UK, we're looking at you.

      4. t.est

        Correct, and the problems are because people choose to flock to cities. So what you got is overpopulated cities and underpopulated countrysides.

        One more problem with food is greed. Here we had a couple of years when the grain price where so lwo that the farmers choose to burn it as fuel rather than sell or send it of as food.

        There is enough food to feed the whole earths population many times over. But our lifestyle and greed simply won't allow food to all.

        Those who think the world really is overpopulated simply don't have their facts straight.

  7. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
    Coat

    So much for infallibility

    See title.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: So much for infallibility

      Papal infallibility is restricted to a rather specific set of circumstances. Outside of those, he's free to FAIL as excellently as the rest of us.

      1. arrbee

        Re: So much for infallibility

        It is also a relatively modern invention (end of the 19th century IIRC) created with the specific aim of preventing significant changes in the Church by binding the future ever more tightly to the past.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So much for infallibility

        It is significant that it was declared just as the French took over the Vatican. "OK you may have all the soldiers and the artillery, but I'm occasionally infallible."

  8. Amazing Stace

    Worries me that he thinks that strength of body is an important factor. Maybe he thinks the Pope should be more of a kicking ass and taking names role.

  9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: so much to do, so little time

      Don't be silly, it's so he can spend more time with the wife and kids.

      1. Anonymous Coward 15
        Joke

        Re: so much to do, so little time

        Bishop Brennan! How's the son- erm- the Son of God?

  10. Paddy Fagan
    WTF?

    Re: bark of Saint Peter

    Lads I'm pretty sure he said ark rather than bark or else there is rather more being given away in today's announcement than planned.

    Paddy

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: bark of Saint Peter

      Hmm - ark or barque.

    2. FartingHippo
      Angel

      Re: bark of Saint Peter

      On the other hand "Bark of Saint Bernard" would have been perfectly acceptable, although somewhat surreal.

    3. Anomalous Cowturd
      Joke

      Re: bark of Saint Peter

      Not bark, 'B' ark.

      HTH ;o)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: bark of Saint Peter

        "Not bark, 'B' ark."

        That's what I call a really good pun.

    4. David Pollard

      Re: bark of Saint Peter

      I thought it was a typo which should have been 'bank'.

    5. Michael Dunn
      Headmaster

      Re: bark of Saint Peter

      Paddy, the work "bark" sometimes spelt "barque" is a perfectly good word for "ship."

  11. Simon Harris Silver badge
    IT Angle

    The best IT angle...

    ... has to be Robert Silverberg's rather entertaining 1971 short story 'Good News From The Vatican'

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: The best IT angle...

      I'm not sure I've read that one, I'll have to check to see if it's in one of the anthologies I've got at home...

  12. smudge Silver badge
    Coat

    Take them to the cleaners, Benny!

    What sort of outfit lets their head honcho step down on less than 3 weeks' notice, without even having a successor or succession plan in place?

    If he plays his cards right and negotiates well, he could probably hang on to that nice apartment in central Rome. He could hold out for the wine cellar, some of the jewels, and maybe a few nuns and/or Swiss Guards too.

    Ask for the Michelangelo Pieta as a leaving present.

    Although now he'll have to figure out what to do when everything is shut at Easter and Christmas...

    1. zanto
      FAIL

      Re: Take them to the cleaners, Benny!

      the sort of organization that's lasted through centuries, wars and other pseudo intellects who believed they knew better perhaps?

      or perhaps the sort of organization that's built schools, and hospitals in places where few would go and asking nothing in return. a damning statistic if ever on the Church's business acumen.

      see son, for the pope to admit that he's no longer able to do justice to his job and retire takes a lot of brass. much more perhaps than it takes for a nitwit sitting in front of his keyboard taking cheap pot shots.

      1. Bakunin
        Holmes

        Re: Take them to the cleaners, Benny!

        I think it was meant to be a joke.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Take them to the cleaners, Benny!

        >that's lasted through the centuries

        The egyptian pharaos lasted longer, so that's Ra 1 : JC 0

        Even the original line-up, Yawheh 1.0, are doing pretty well despite 2000 years of the church trying to wipe them out.

        >asking nothing in return

        Other than would you mind transferring all your gold to Spain, converting to our new religion and giving us your continent.

        1. zanto
          Stop

          Re: Take them to the cleaners, Benny!

          funny i don't recall Mother Thresa doing this when caring for the sick and dying in India, most of whom were non catholics. I myself have worked with the nuns at a home dedicated to looking after children with defects abandoned by their parents. i've also visited and helped out in old age homes many of the residents of which are non catholics.

          from my experience of actually being there as oppesed to reading stuff on the internet, i can tell you, no gold changed hands.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Take them to the cleaners, Benny!

        "or perhaps the sort of organization that's built schools, and hospitals in places where few would go and asking nothing in return."

        Nothing, except blind obedience.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bookies favourite

    Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana is the bookies' hot favourite. He appears to have been groomed by the retiring Pope as the successor. In this unique situation the retiring Pope will obviously still wield some unofficial power over the convocation. A scriptural scholar with no change on the views of contraception or HIV/AIDS.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Turkson

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Bookies favourite

      not too sure the word 'groomed' is entirely appropriate when discussing the clergy.

      strike that

      it's all too appropriate.

  14. TeeCee Gold badge
    Alert

    The Curse Of Twitter

    Claims another victim.....

  15. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Joke

    Or perhaps just a bit of an over-reaction to Obama refusing to build his Death Star...

  16. DrXym Silver badge

    Another Twitter prima donna

    He read all the criticism of his tweets and just decided to rage quit.

  17. Tanuki
    Thumb Up

    A break with tradition.

    The Pontifical Election Conclave could choose to be really modern and appoint from outside the business by selecting a woman.

    I hear Carly Fiorina's probably available at the right price.

  18. Gordon861

    Robbie Coltrane for Pope ...

  19. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Tony Green

      Re: Smashing Pope

      What's detestation of a Nazi, paedophile-protector got to do with left/right politics? As far as I know there are catholics on all shades of the political spectrum. It's more to do with human decency and justice.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Smashing Pope

        only 1 person in the catholic church truly on the left.

        and they nailed that poor bugger to a cross.

        all the lefties get exiled to the anglican church

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Smashing Pope

          1 I think you will find it was Paul of Tarsus who really "founded" Christianity, and IIRC it was the ultra-right wing Henry VIII who started the Anglican Church ably followed by his daughter Elizabeth.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Smashing Pope

      "much to the chagrin of the smug leftie acktors "

      When reading the new Testament it is striking that the teachings of Christ were, in modern terms, very left wing. What he preached against were: the Pharisees in positions of religious power; people who accumulated vast wealth; those who were intolerant of peopl's sexual activities.

      The Roman Catholic Church hierarchy epitomises all that Christ preached against.

      The RCC, and the CofE to a lesser extent, in their interference in UK politics have also forgotten the commandment to: "render up to Caesar that which is Caesar's - and to God that which is God's".

      1. zanto
        FAIL

        Re: Smashing Pope

        Actually that always struck me as odd. I do agree that the teachings of Christ were love and acceptance of all regardless of sexual orientation, race, colour and creed. And yet the Catholic Church is branded as being intolerant.

        As a catholic, i've never seen or experienced this at church. i do read about it in the media though. but us catholcs are too dumb to believe everything we read. i mean it even appears on the internet so it must be true shouldn't it?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Smashing Pope

          I assume you are male, heterosexual and live in a rich country then?

          1. zanto

            Re: Smashing Pope

            that assumption would hold true for most readers of the reg. you're point being?

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Smashing Pope

              Your opinion of the loving mercy of the mother church might be slightly different if you are gay or a woman

              1. Eenymeeny

                Re: Smashing Pope

                Indeed, as an alleged rape victim in Germany (!) discovered when the Catholic-run (and state-funded) clinic refused to give her the morning-after pill.

                Joachim Meisner, Cardinal of Cologne, did say he was sorry afterwards though.

                So that's OK then.

                http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/inland/vergewaltigungsopfer-abgewiesen-kardinal-meisner-entschuldigt-sich-nach-koelner-klinikaffaere-12034419.html (in German)

                http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/9811443/German-rape-victim-turned-away-by-Catholic-hospitals-over-pregnancy-fears.html (in English)

    3. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Smashing Pope

      Smashing Pope? Is this an EU edict to break up the old ones and recycle them?

    4. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Smashing Pope

      revolting nazi/paedophile sympathiser

      there fixed it for you!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has he resigned so he can settle down and have a couple of kids/

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The pope has resigned...

    ...To spend more time with his family...

  22. Tony Green
    Devil

    As a Hitler Youth volunteer...

    ...he's probably off to spend more time with his swastikas.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: As a Hitler Youth volunteer...

      Right, let's put this to rest once and for all most Germans of his age were in the Hitler youth. You can't hold him responsible for that.

      But most Germans of his age haven't knowingly aided and abetted paedophiles in their evasion of justice. You can hold him responsible for that.

  23. P.Nutt

    Well theres your problem......

    Alarmed at his 'it was the voices in my head that told me to retire' statement. Voices? Plural?

  24. teebie

    @pontifex

    surely this belongs to his employer (God?), rather than the individual, so he'll have to include the password in the handover documents he gives his successor, or risk being given a bad reference.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @pontifex

      " or risk being given a bad reference."

      It would be interesting to hear the conversation when he finally meets his venerable predecessor St Peter at the Pearly Gates - the Highest Court. Scoring all the boxes - and then it gets to "little children" and Peter repeats the Lord's criteria:

      "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

  25. Dr_N Silver badge

    Maybe in 50 years time...

    ... we'll find out the real reason behind this abdication.

    My conspiracy theory? It probably involves children, or Nazis, or both.

    TTFN "God's Rottweiler"....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe in 50 years time...

      Possibly Dan Brown now has a theme for his next novel.

  26. regadpellagru
    Thumb Up

    Kudos to him, really

    I'm not religious, and I certainly never was a big fan of this Pope (I never cared really, since I'm convinced universe was created by a couple of dices thrown). But geez, get the negationists back in church, for Pete's sake !

    However, I think the guy needs our hats off for having the courage to resign, as this is not really the fashion of the company. I can imagine all the court faces around him when he announced that ...

    I'm sure I would do the same if being forced to do my current job, when I'm 85 ...

    So long mate, have a deserved rest !

  27. Cameron Colley

    He was just upset about his team missing a star player.

    Knowing the church never recruited Mr Saville must be a constant source of embarassment. My guess is he now wants to work for the BBC.

  28. Sceptic Tank
    Trollface

    Theme on an old joke

    He's off to go and party. He read the original scriptures in the library and discovered somebody made a typo many, many, many (many...) years ago. The original script says "celebrate".

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Pope resigns shortly after joining Twitter.

    Just like Jason Manford.

  30. Anonymous Coward 15

    As a practising Catholic I thought I might confirm that this is pretty sudden- they didn't know about it at Mass yesterday evening.

    1. zanto
      Pint

      another practising Catholic on the reg forums? i thought i was the only one.

      I guess i understand what it must feel like for someone who's gay to come out of the closet a few years back.

      1. Stratman
        Happy

        That's three of us then

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Some of my best friends are Catholics. I know what topics cause them grief and avoid raising them. Like all such organisations one reserves appropriate criticism for the leaders - not the infantry. I still remember the anguish of friends in the 1970s who had expected their use of artificial contraception to be approved as part of the modernisation.

          The recent vitriolic campaign against same-sex Civil Marriage did the Church no favours in English public opinion. Especially when Jacob Rees-Mogg MP in a radio interview starts by saying that in matters like this "I take my whip from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church". Private conscience is one thing - blind obedience to a foreign state is something else.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Practising" Catholic?

      I've always thought that particular phrase makes it sound like the whole 'love thy neighbour' thing is a bit too difficult and just doesn't come naturally, so you really have to work at it...

      I gave up on the whole thing after noticing that some Catholics still weren't particularly nice people after 30, 40 or even 50+ years of "Practising"!

  31. Naughtyhorse

    He's just keeping us off-ballance

    after all...

    <all together now> No one expects the spanish inquisition!

  32. Sooty

    Is it wrong

    That my first thoughts when I heard this were "what scandalous story from his past has just been discovered by the press that could be broken any day?"

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    http://www.crystalinks.com/papalprophecies.html

    "Saint Malachy (1094 - November 2, 1148) was known as great prophet. While in Rome in 1139 he received a vision showing him all the Popes from his day to the end of time. According to these prophecies, only two Popes remaining after John Paul II."

    1. Michael Dunn

      Two Popes after John Paul II?

      Here we are then: all those poor deluded people who thought that the Mayan prophecies predicted the end if the world in 2012 _must_ have been wrong, since St Malachy had prophesied that there would still be another Pope's reign to go.

  34. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Retirement!

    He's *retiring* not resigning. Everything said about his actions describes "retire" not "resign", and until the child-fiddling photos come to light or the missing money is discovered, it's "retire".

    1. Captain TickTock
      Facepalm

      Re: Retirement!

      not if you read the BBC coverage.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Retirement!

      Ahhh now!

      that money was just resting in his account

    3. Don Jefe

      Re: Retirement!

      He can't actually resign, he does not have anyone to resign to. He is abdicating, which he can do.

  35. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Angel

    Pope Benedict is retiring a few months after getting involved in social media??

    No doubt to concentrate on playing Mafia Wars and watching cat videos on YouTube!!

    (I can has free time!!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pope Benedict is retiring a few months after getting involved in social media??

      So nothing in the Stasi files then?

      Or is it horsemeat in the confessional wafers..... not so much 'the body of christ', more 'christ what's in the biscuits'?

      AC to keep the zealots at bay ......

  36. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Re: Thank God!

    @The Indomitable Gall: Now totally definitely agnostic.

    So you are now completely sure that you are unsure as to the nature of life, the universe, and everything?

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: Thank God!

      Yes, but more than that, I am now completely sure that I can never be anything other than completely unsure as to the nature of life, the universe and everything? (I'm also completely sure that I don't use the "Oxford comma" -- I'm not from Oxford!)

      I was mostly agnostic when I was Catholic, because I accepted on a fundamental level that even the most unshakeable faith is not "certainty", merely "faith".

  37. ADJB

    You all seem to have missed the obvious downside to all this. It means there is going to be a new series of "Pope idol" on TV.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well the voting panel has already been rigged so that no matter who wins - they will be singing off the same hymn sheet as the retiring Pope.

      Predictions:

      1) the Roman Catholic Church will split along liberal and conservative lines. The former will be in the developed western countries - the latter in Asia, Africa, and South America. Once again the prospect of two, or more, Popes leading the separate groups.

      2) the Anglican Communion will split along liberal and conservative lines. The former will be in the developed western countries - the latter mostly in Asia, Africa, and South America.

      3) the liberal groups will form an alliance to try to benefit the poor and downtrodden. The conservative groups will enter a state of war, figurative or literal - sacrificing their followers in trying to prove which is the most fundamental in their biblical adherence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        the Roman Catholic Church will split along liberal and conservative lines

        Why would the conservatives be in South America, where Liberation Theology got started?

        I'd hope they'd be sending missionaries to the North and East to preach against capitalism.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: the Roman Catholic Church will split along liberal and conservative lines

          "Why would the conservatives be in South America, where Liberation Theology got started?"

          It started there - but I seem to remember the Vatican stamping heavily on those priests who sided with the peasants. The same can be seen in the USA today with the Vatican's disbanding of nuns' "feminist" groups.

          There was also the case of a mother and doctor who were excommunicated by Brazilian bishops. Their religious sin was a legal abortion on a 9 year old girl who had been raped - and was pregnant with twins. Her attacker was not excommunicated.

          http://www.examiner.com/article/doctor-who-performed-abortion-on-9-year-old-rape-victim-excommunicated

          In recent years the Vatican has lost its hold on the congregations in USA, Ireland, Spain, Germany, and Italy - to name a few. It damaged itself badly in the UK recently by trying to order its congregations, including school children, to sign petitions against several civil law changes.

          Pope Benedict has reversed several liberalising trends. His new cardinal appointments, over half of those eligible to vote, all appear aimed at producing a conservative successor.

  38. Simon Harris Silver badge
    Coat

    Meat

    With all the dodgy meat going around Europe, I see the KFC in the Vatican is cleaning up its act and is taking the Rat Zinger off the menu.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Popes and Presidents

    So does he get to keep his title of Pope like US Presidents do, or do we have to now call him eggs-Benedict?

  40. This post has been deleted by its author

  41. bag o' spanners

    Follow the money.

    The Italian bloc at the Vatican Casino have had enough of him. He's failed to whitewash their dodgy property dealings, relentless banking irregularities, child molesting, right wing and mob connections, and general medieval hysteria.

    He had them by the balls as Torquemada-in-Chief, but as a titular head of state, he's a toothless figurehead who can't say anything about the crooks around him without toppling the house of cards that keeps his saggy arse in the clouds.

    They deliberately promoted him to a position beyond his competence to get him off their backs. In the same way our glorious despotic rulers throw a Chief Whip into the role of Party Chairman when he's getting too big for his boots. Plus ca change.

  42. Zmodem

    I will go for, could'nt care

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I guess he could always retire to Craggy Island?

  44. This post has been deleted by its author

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