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How Benedict XVI set the stage for Pope Francis

Last edited 11th February 2014

How Benedict XVI set the stage for Pope Francis

Pope Benedict XVI used a meeting of cardinals discussing new saints to deliver the stunning announcement that he planned to resign, effective 8 pm Rome time on Feb. 28. The news was a total surprise to everyone except a handful of papal intimates, and it set the stage for all the drama that’s followed.

One cardinal said afterward that he sat in the room well after the meeting broke up, still unable to comprehend what had just happened. He played Benedict’s Latin phrasing over and over again in his mind to be sure he’d understood.


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