Pope Benedict XVI won’t intervene in choosing successor, says brother



Zeenews Bureau

Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI, who shocked the entire Catholic world by announcing his resignation from the papacy, will not play a role in choosing his successor, said his brother Georg Ratzinger said Tuesday.

However the pope would “make himself available when needed”, Pope’s brother told the BBC.

Pope’s resignation sets the stage for the Vatican to elect a new pope by mid-March, before Easter.

The new pope would be elected by 117 member-strong conclave held in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.

The resignation has put in spotlight an array of papal contenders, ranging from Archbishop of Milan Angelo Scola to Ghana's Cardinal Peter Turkson and Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria. Several Latin Americans are also in the list.

But as Pope’s brother said, Benedict XVI will not “want to intervene in the affairs of his successor", but added that "Where he's needed he will make himself available”.

Pope’s brother Georg Ratzinger added that Benedict XVI had been thinking about the decision for months as doctors had advised him not to take any more transatlantic trips. He said the resignation therefore was part of a "natural process".

"When he got to the second half of his 80s, he felt that his age was showing and that he was gradually losing the abilities he may have had and that it takes to fulfil this office properly," the BBC quoted Georg Ratzinger.

Pope Benedict XVI said yesterday that he would be quitting papacy on Feb 28.

Pope made the announcement in Latin yesterday, citing frail health conditions as the reason behind calling it quits.

Having held the position for last eight years, Pope Benedict XVI became the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years.

Before him, Pope Gregory XII had stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants.

With Agency Inputs