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In diaries such as here, some commenters have reacted to Pope Benedict XVI's historic announcement that he will resign by questioning whether he had some motive other than health and age.  There are suggestions that this is getting ahead of a forthcoming financial or child abuse scandal, that he was possible forced out.

Although the decision surprised many, reports are that the pope has been considering the measure for some time.  It was recently revealed that Benedict has a pacemaker and that the battery was recently replaced.  He is 85, uses a cane, and has appeared to have problems reading in public.  It has been reported that he started to come to this decision a year ago after a difficult foreign trip and that, in hindsight, there were some obvious signs that he was preparing for his retirement, such as converting a convent into his future residence.  His brother, George Ratzinger, says he was informed a few months ago and that Pope Benedict had been advised by his doctor to avoid transatlantic trips.

There is ample evidence to suggest that Pope Benedict is stepping down for precisely the reasons that he cited when he announced, "After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry."

And what of those (not the majority of commenters, not even close to a majority) who believe in the existence of ulterior and nefarious motives behind this resignation, doubting that it is what it is said to be, labeling it an "excuse"?  i submit that they are no better than the conservatives on Fox News and elsewhere who accused Hillary Clinton of having a convenient "Benghazi flu", crafting a conspiracy theory to fit a pre-determined narrative about someone they dislike.

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