Last February 28, Joseph Ratzinger also known as Pope Benedict XVI officially resigned as the supreme head of the Roman Catholic church – the first one to ever do so in 600 years. As of this time, the office of the papacy is vacant or “interregnum.” The 1.1 billion strong RC is leaderless.
Pope Benedict XVI cited “old age” as his main reason to explain his resignation. However, the string of clergy sexual abuses worldwide and the much-publicized corruptions within the Vatican quarters of late could well have been the reason for the sudden resignation of the aging prelate. And with his new title, “pope emeritus,” the once esteemed leader of the Roman Catholic religion, will now spend the rest of his life in obscurity.
This historic event, albeit, a controversial one brings up the thorny issue of “apostolic succession” – a Roman Catholic doctrine that maintains that Apostle Peter passed on his apostleship to the succession of church bishops that came after him. The Roman Catholic also teaches that it was Peter who was the first pope and that he was the “rock” in Matthew 16:18 on which the true church is built.