The Pope Steps Down

Image: Torvindus
Pope Benedict XVI, seen here in 2006, has resigned from his post. Image: Torvindus

In a historic move, the Pope has resigned his position as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

He is the first pope to resign in 600 years.

Pope Benedict XVI (Benedict the 16th) announced his decision on Monday. He said he has been losing strength and can no longer perform the tasks required of him. He is 85 years old.

The resignation is of interest because the Catholic Church, one of the largest in the world, is led by the Pope. More than a billion people around the world call themselves Catholic.

In his resignation speech, Pope Benedict XVI said, speaking in Latin:

“…in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith… both strength of mind and body are necessary. Strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me…”

The Pope was selected on April 19, 2005. He said he will step down from the position on Feb. 28.

The process of selecting a new pope is a long and involved one, and includes a vote by the Cardinals of the church. The vote won’t take place until March, so the position will be vacant until then.

The last pope to resign was Gregory XII (Gregory the 12th) in 1415. He stepped down involuntarily (meaning that he didn’t want to but was forced) to avoid a rift in the church. The last pope to step down voluntarily was Celestine V, in 1294, who felt he couldn’t do the job any more.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The Pope is fluent in many languages including: German, Italian, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, and can read ancient Greek and biblical Hebrew. That means he could have written his resignation speech in many different languages. So, why do you think the Pope chose to write one of his most important speeches in Latin, a language that very few people speak and understand?

Reading Prompt: Comprehension Strategies
Today’s headline reads “The Pope Steps Down.” Now that you’ve read today’s article, what would you change the headline to? How does the activity of changing the headline show that you understood today’s story?

Primary & Junior
Identify a variety of reading comprehen- sion strategies and use them appropri- ately before, during, and after reading to understand texts (OME, Reading: 1.3).

Identify a variety of reading compre- hension strategies and use them appropriately before, during, and after reading to understand increasingly complex texts (OME, Reading: 1.3).

Grammar Feature: Roman Numerals
Roman Numerals were the number system of ancient Rome. By combining latin letters in different orders, different values were created. The basics of the system are:

1 =  I; 2 = II; 3 = III; 4 = IV; 5 = V; 6 = VI; 7 = VII; 8 = VIII; 9 = IX; 10 = X; 15 = XV; 20 = XX

Are you able to tell how the system works? Using this system, can you guess how to show the following numbers:

11 = _____________
14 = _____________
19 = _____________
28 = _____________
33 = _____________
37 = _____________