Pope Benedict XVI to Resign--The First Papal Resignation in 598 Years

The 85-year old leader of the Catholic Church announced that he will resign at the end of the month for health reasons. Here are a couple of my favorite Twitter reactions. This is the first time that a Pope has resigned since 1415. Dan Lewis, the factoid maestro behind Now I Know, points out that this is a long, long time.

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Why would Rome fall? Isn't the Pope the head of a country--the Vatican City? Granted, it is the smallest country in the world and surrounded by Rome, but why would Rome be destroyed? Wouldn't just the Vatican City be destroyed?

I know the Pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church, but since I am not a Roman Catholic, that is a minor thing for me.
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So he will be Ex-Benedict?

I'm seeing a lot of references on the net to the Malachian Prophesies http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophecy_of_the_Popes which number all the popes -it says the next one will be the last and will see the destruction of Rome. Some are predicting the next pope could be African (Ghanian, to be exact), American, or Canadian. Watch out if they elect an Italian, as Benedict seems to prefer.

I'm beginning to feel really old, as there is so much mention of John Paul II and how old and decrepit he was -because I remember when he was selected (John Paul I, too, I was in college) and the headlines were all about how young and vigorous John Paul II was.
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