The Pope, The Vatican and Roman Catholic Religion
Pope Benedict XVI
This was the 265th pope from 2005 to 2013. The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church and the Sovereign of the Vatican City State.
He is 85 years old and his real name is Joseph Aloisious Ratzinger, originally from Munich.
Benedict was the oldest Pope to be elected at the age of 78. Once a pope is elected that is where they are to stay until they breathe their last breath. It is unheard of for the Pope to resign and this has broken a 600 year "taboo."
Celestine V resigned in 1294 and Gregory X11 in 1412 also voluntarily resigned.
It is said that Pope Benedict is very tired and he feels that the pope needs to be mentally and physically strong enough to cope with the issues of Catholism at this time.
His brother George said that he is not ill but very tired and his last trip to Mexico and Cuba really wore him out.
The pope has taken the decision to resign with "full freedom and great awareness of the seriousness of this act."
Pope Benedict XVI's work as a Pope has been appreciated by President Obama and David Cameron, who have both said that the Pope was very helpful.
Victims of the recent sex and child abuse scandals that erupted under Benedict's papacy have said that he was directly involved in the conspiracy to cover up thousands of cases or he failed to stand up to the elements who were involved in the cover up.
Italian newspapers reported that there was a 300 page dossier with charges that priests were being extorted by gay laymen with whom they had had relations of a "wordly manner."
The dossier was given to the Pope on the same day that he resigned. The Vatican slammed the charges and have said that there is no evidence of any such thing.
benedict spoke the Curia for the final time on Saturday and said that there was growing disfunction behind the walls of the Vatican. He also urged it's members to overcome,"pride and egoism" as they combat the "evil suffering and corruption," that has poisoned God's creation.
Once Benedict stands down as Pope he will be taken to Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer retreat near Rome and will live in a cloistered monastery. He will not vote in the conclave for a new Pope but has made his suggestions as to whom should be next in line.
Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan and cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian prefect of the congregation for Bishops, are said to be the leading candidates.
A new pope must be elected before Easter and all cardinals under the age of 80 will vote.
A new Pope has been Chosen.
13 March 2013 after only a two day conclave, white smoke seeped through the chimney at the Vatican. A new Pope has been elected.
The Swiss guards have surrounded the building and the Italian national anthem is beginning to echo through as everyone awaits the new pope to appear on the balcony.
Cardinal Protodeacon Jean - Louis Pierre Toran will announce the name of the Pope.
The new Pope is Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he is the first Jesuit Pope of all time. He is of Italian decent and he is 76 years old.
He will be known as Pope Francis.I
He travels by bus and has a practical approach to poverty. He encouraged all of his followers not to pay for the flight to Italy but give that money to the poor.
He was created a cardinal by John Paul II on 21 February 2001 and believes that every child has the right to a mother and a father and opposes gay marriages.
The Vatican, Vatican City State, Rome
The Vatican is situated in Vatican City which is enclosed by a wall within Rome. It is 110 acres and there is a population of 800. It was established in 1929 by the Latern Treaty. The Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world.
It is distinct from the Holy See which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe.
Ordinances of the Vatican City are published only in Italian and the Holy see documents are issued in Latin.
The Holy see issues only diplomatic and service passports and Vatican City issues normail passports.
Vatican City is ruled by the Bishop of Rome - the Pope. It is a monarchical state and the highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergymen of various national origins.
It is the sovereign territory (Holy See) and the location of the pope's residence - Apostolic Palace.
In July 2007, the Vatican agreed to become the first carbon neutral state and it is on the west side of the Tiber River.
The Vatican City is separated from the city of Rome by walls. The territory includes St Peter's Square, the Sistine Chapel and Apostolic Palace, Basillica's and gardens.
St Peter's Square is separated from the city by a solid white line.
The politics of the Vatican city takes place in an elective monarchy, in which the head of the Catholic church takes power. The pope exercises judicial, legislative and executive power over the state.
It is not a member of the UN and is the only remaining monarchy in Europe.
This city is patrolled internally by Vatican police agents and not Italian police.
The Catholic religion dates all the way back to 33C.E, according to the four gospels and the Acts of the apostles. The structure of the church was set up by Jesus Christ before his ascension and the early Christian church was born on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and disciples.
Mathew 16:17-19 states: Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against you."
Catholics believe in the Kingdom of Heaven, the doctrine of the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the inspiration of the Bible and purgatory, which is a place of afterlife purifaction before entering Heaven. They believe in the pope and Saints to intercede on behalf of believers.
Catholics believe in God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. They do not pray to Mother Mary but they do ask her to pray for them.
The Catholics believe that Jesus was born to Mother Mary and he was the only son of God. He was crucified, died and was buried to save them from their sins. He ascended to heaven to be alongside his Father and will one day return.
There are many monastic orders; Jesuits, Dominicans, Fransciscans and Augustinians. Catholic nuns and monks tske vows of silence, poverty, chastity and obedience to a life focused on worshipping God.
Catholic priests take vows of celibacy which is rooted in the papacy's early connections with monastism.
Catholic practice includes the verenation of Saints, use of the crucifix and the use of rosary beads in prayer.