Pope decided to resign after Cuba trip, Vatican advisor says
Vatican City, Feb 13, 2013 / 12:01 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to step down from his office was made soon after his trip to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012, according to a senior communications officer at the Vatican.
“What’s interesting is how long ago this decision was made, shortly after the Pope’s trip to Cuba, which was in March of last year,” said Vatican advisor Greg Burke.
On Feb. 11, Pope Benedict XVI announced to a gathering of cardinals in Rome that he no longer has the strength to carry out the office of the papacy and will resign on Feb. 28. He is 85 years of age.
Burke confirmed that the decision was made months ago, after a six-day trip during which the pontiff was described as visibly tired and speaking with a strained voice.
Burke’s comments countered media rumors that the decision to retire was tied to the scandal of Pope Benedict’s one-time butler, Paolo Gabriele, who stole confidential Vatican documents and leaked them to the media. The decision in March “was before the whole butler story even broke,” Burke observed.
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