Francis launches tweet to pray for Pope Benedict

Urges prayer for Benedict

On the first anniversary of Benedict XVI’s announcement of his decision to resign, Pope Francis has sent a tweet, asking the world to join him in prayer for the retired Pontiff, reports the Catholic News agency.

'Today I invite you to pray together with me for His Holiness Benedict XVI, a man of great courage and humility,' the Pope’s February 11 tweet read.

One year ago, retired Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world when he announced to a gathering of cardinals that he was resigning his office as Bishop of Rome, an event which has not happened in almost 600 years.

Citing his advanced age as the primary factor in his decision, Benedict revealed that '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.'

Only two other Pope’s have resigned from their post in the history of the Church, the first being St Celestine V in 1294; the last was Gregory VII, in 1415.

Benedict XVI’s retirement officially went into effect on February 28, 2013 when he travelled to the Vatican’s summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, and later moved into his permanent residence in the Vatican’s monastery Mater Ecclesiae, which lies just west of St Peter’s Basilica.

FULL STORY Pope Francis launches tweet to pray for Benedict XVI (CNA)