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African Catholics debate ‘black candidate’ as Pope announces ‘resignation

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The Vatican in a statement says Pope Benedict has intimated that his strength “is no longer adequate to continue in office due to old age”!

Now, the emerging questions are whether Africans will be fielding in another candidate after their hope was dashed when the Nigerian-born Cardinal Francis Arinze lost the Vatican post in 2005 to the present Pope.

The late Pope John Paul 11 was said to have personally announced Arinze as his favourite successor before his death in 2005.

According to the statement, the Pontiff says he is” fully aware of the gravity of this gesture”.

The 85-year-old becomes the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years

He announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning.

A Vatican official said the period between Pope Benedict’s resignation and the election of his successor will be “as brief as possible.”

The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.

The Pope decided to resign “after much examination of conscience and much reflection”, according to the Archbishop of Westminster.

Pope Benedict XVI was born Joseph Ratzinger in 1927 and was the 265th Pope.

Ratzinger was 78 when he was elected to become Pope in April 2005 and succeeded John Paul II.

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