Entries in Resignation (14)


Vatican Disputing Scandal Rumors Amid Pope's Resignation

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- As Pope Benedict XVI prepares to step down from the papacy this Thursday, the Vatican has also been forced to deal with reports in the Italian media about an alleged scandal involving gay clergy being blackmailed.

During an impromptu briefing on Saturday, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi again responded to the worldwide distribution of “unverified, unverifiable, or even false” news stories that surfaced last week.

Lombardi declined to say which specific reports the Vatican objects to although he appeared to be referring to the report, first carried by Italy’s Panorama and La Repubblica, claiming Benedict is resigning rather than facing the fallout of allegations regarding gay priests.

Foreign news outlets picked up the story on Saturday, attributing only the Italian press accounts, further distressing the Vatican.

The spokesman accused the news media of meddling in the papal election, adding that in the past, it was the state that tried to pressure the cardinals' decision regarding the election of a pope.

"Now there is an attempt to do this through public opinion," according to Lombardi.

In spite of all the controversy, Pope Benedict led his final Angelus blessing on Sunday before tens of thousands in Saint Peter's Square as cardinals from around the world converge on the Vatican preparing to choose his successor to lead the world's Rome Catholic Church.

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Pope Benedict Will Live in Quiet Retirement

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Benedict XVI, the first Roman Catholic pontiff to abdicate in nearly 600 years, told priest and clergy gathered in Vatican City on Thursday that he would hold no public office when his resignation becomes effective on Feb. 28.

In fact, Benedict, the pope since John Paul II's passing in 2005, plans to make himself scarce, telling the Diocese of Rome he will be "hidden to the world."

The pope's stunning announcement last Monday is still reverberating at the Vatican and around the world as cardinals will be assigned the task in March of finding the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Benedict said age and failing health were his reasons for stepping down.

It has since been revealed by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano that Benedict actually made his decision to retire after returning from a trip to Mexico last March.

A Vatican spokesman did confirm a report by another newspaper that Benedict hit his head while on that visit but the Rev. Federico Lombardi firmly disputed the contention that the accident had anything to do with Benedict's ultimate choice to end his papacy.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


What Will Pope Benedict XVI Do After He Resigns?

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When most people retire, they think of going to Florida, playing Bingo or filling their spare time with favorite hobbies.

When U.S. presidents leave office, they do charity work and oversee the building of their presidential libraries.

For Pope Benedict XVI, the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, there is no precedent as to how he'll spend his retirement -- or even what title he'll have.

"We're in rather new territory so we're going to have to see if they bestow him a title or if he even has one," said Matthew Bunson, general editor of the Catholic Almanac and author of We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI.

What we do know is this: The pope, who gave slightly more than the standard two weeks' notice for quitting a job, will retreat to Castel Gandolfo, the swank papal vacation residence, after his last day as pontiff on Feb. 28, according to a Vatican spokesman.

His primary residence, according to the spokesman, will be a monastery within Vatican territory.

The rest is anyone's guess, said Christopher Bellitto, a professor at Kean University in New Jersey who has written nine books on the history of the church.

"I would be very surprised if he didn't make frequent and indulgent visits to a nice villa in Bavaria," Bellitto said of the German-born pontiff.

Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, made it no secret that he never aspired to be pope, and was instead following the plan of God.

Bellitto said the pope, who is 85, will likely spend the final chapter of his life out of the public eye, "living the quiet life of retirement he probably thought would happen after the papacy of John Paul II."

"He'll probably be living with his brother, [Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, 89].  They are very close," Bellitto said.

It's likely the pontiff will keep a small private staff to help him with matters as he adjusts to life out of the public sphere, Bunson said.

"Whether his current secretary remains in his post we'll have to see," he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Pope Benedict XVI to Resign on Feb. 28

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Benedict XVI's unprecedented announcement Monday that he will resign Feb. 28 brings to a close one of the shortest papacies in history, for which the pontiff will leave a legacy as a leader with views in line with church tradition, but also as one who worked during a controversial reign to advance religious links cross the globe.

The pope's decision, which he announced in Latin on Monday during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, makes him the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years. It was perhaps the most shocking moment of his nearly eight years as leader of the world's roughly one billion Catholics, years in which he worked on religious outreach.

Such efforts resulted recently in a new Twitter account, which the Vatican launched in late-2012. But true to his traditional worldview, he cautioned the world's Catholics at his Christmas 2012 Mass about the risk of technology's pushing God out of their lives.

RELATED: Pope Benedict XVI Resigns: The Statement

Benedict XVI was the oldest pope to be elected at age 78 on April 19, 2005. He was the first German pope since the 11th century and his reign will rank as one of the shortest in history at seven years, 10 months and three days.

INTERACTIVE: Key Dates in the Life of Pope Benedict XVI

The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415.

Vatican officials said they've noticed that he has been getting weaker, while Benedict said he is aware of the significance of his decision and made it freely.

A conclave to elect a new pope will take place before the end of March.

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Egypt's Chief Prosecutor Quits One Month After Appointment

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- One month after President Mohamed Morsi appointed him, Egypt's chief public prosecutor resigned Monday.

Talaat Ibrahim Abdullah stepped down after district prosecutors claimed he pushed for filing charges against a group of opposition protesters who allegedly received payment for use of violence, the New York Times reports.

Abdullah apparently asked the head of the Supreme Council of Justice to consider allowing him to return to his previous legal work, according to a Xinhua news report.

The judicial council is expected to discuss Abdullah's resignation on Sunday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


German President Resigns Amid Financial Scandal

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- Facing pressure from prosecutors over allegations he received favors before becoming head of state, German President Christian Wulff announced on Friday he was stepping down.

His resignation comes a day after prosecutors asked parliament to lift his immunity so that an investigation into the financial scandal can proceed.  Wulff is accused of accepting a loan when he served as the premier of Lower Saxony.

Horst Seehofer, the premier of Bavaria and leader of the Christian Social Union, will step in to serve as acting president until a new successor is elected.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who helped appoint Wulff to office in 2010, canceled a trip to Italy on Friday to deal with the shakeup.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Yemeni Leader Again Hints at Leaving but Few Believe It

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA'A, Yemen) -- Once again, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was gravely injured in an assassination attempt earlier in the year and recuperated in Saudi Arabia, is suggesting after returning to his homeland that he is willing to step down.

His latest suggestion sounded much like the first time Saleh discussed leaving office during the height of the civil unrest in Yemen that resulted in the bomb attack on his palace in Sana'a.

The opposition that desperately wants the Yemeni president to cede power will only believe the embattled leader's words when he hands over authority to a coalition government.

Saleh doesn't want anyone setting conditions for him, which is was why he turned down a deal crafted by Washington to step down.  It's a tricky proposition for the Obama administration since Saleh has been a strong ally in fighting al Qaeda even as he shows little regard for democracy.

Since Saleh came back to Yemen last month, violence has stirred up again with government crackdowns against dissident groups.

That's why few believe Saleh when he says, "I never wanted power.  I will reject power in the coming days.  I will give it up."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Japanese Politician Resigns over Fukushima Gaffe  

Koichi Kamoshida/Bloomberg via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- A Japanese politician may have just set a record for shortest term in office. Yoshio Hachiro resigned just eight days after being named the country's new trade minister in the wake of offensive comments he made regarding the country's nuclear disaster.

After visiting the crippled Fukushima reactors, Hachiro joked that radiation on his clothes might be contagious. He also called abandoned communities around the plant a town of death.

Japan is no stranger to political turnover. The country has gone through six prime ministers in the last five years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Japanese Prime Minister Officially Steps Down

Sankei via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan officially stepped down from his post Friday, setting up the country to elect its sixth prime minister in five years.

Kan announced his intention to resign in June amid mounting criticism over the government's slow response to Japan's triple disasters -- the March earthquake and tsunami, and the nuclear crisis that ensued when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was crippled.

He held off on the resignation until parliament passed a renewable energy bill that reduces the country's reliance on nuclear energy and a budget financing bill.  Both were passed earlier, paving the way for him to leave office.

Kan steps down as Japan's prime minister after being in office for just over a year.  Despite his short term, he held the leadership post longer than any of the previous four prime ministers.

Japan's ruling party, the Democratic Party of Japan, is expected to vote for its sixth leader on Monday.  Former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and current Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda are considered the favorites to win.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Candidates: Obama Took Too Long to Condemn Syria's Assad

KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House probably expected that the three top GOP candidates for president wouldn't have anything positive to say about Thursday's decision to call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's resignation.

And those expectations proved true.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann all accused President Obama of taking too long to condemn the Syrian dictator as Syrians continue to die after months of deadly crackdowns on Assad's political opponents.

Campaigning in New Hampshire, Perry said the president's action was "long overdue" because al-Assad not only threatens his own people but also "the security and stability of the entire Middle East."

Romney was no less critical, asserting, "It has taken President Obama far too long to speak out forcefully against Assad and his vicious crackdown in Syria."

He blamed the president for using the word "reformer" to describe the Syrian leader early on in the crisis, which Romney alleged emboldened al-Assad.

Meanwhile in South Carolina, Bachmann mused that "better late than never" is the wrong way to conduct foreign policy.  She added there has been not enough force used to pressure al-Assad to stop killing his own people.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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