reutersPope Benedict shocked the world on Monday by saying he no longer had the mental and physical strength to cope with his ministry, in an announcement that left his aides “incredulous” and will make him the first pontiff to step down since the Middle Ages. The German-born Pope, 85, hailed as a hero by conservative Roman Catholics and viewed with suspicion by liberals, told cardinals in Latin that his strength had deteriorated recently. He will step down on February 28 and the Vatican expects a new Pope to be chosen by the end of March. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the Pope had not decided to resign because of “difficulties in the papacy” and the move had been a surprise, indicating that even his inner circle was unaware that he was about to quit. The Pope does not fear schism in the Church after his resignation, the spokesman said. The pope told the cardinals that in order to govern “…both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. “For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter.” He also referred to “today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith.”

What could possibly be the Pope’s reason for stepping down before death is obviously going to be the question of the day/week/month/and even our yeeeear. Sure he says “health”, but what does that mean really? Dead Popes get Platinum VIP access to Heaven, including the buffet and grotto. Why would this man risk the infamy of being the first Pope to step away from the job in 6 centuries? Let’s speculate.

maurice’s hurried early-morning Top Ten Reasons Why The Pope Is Stepping Down On February 28th.

10. Questionable browser history and/or cell phone pics.

9. Actually converted to Rastafarianism and now demands to be called Pope Lion.

8. Moving to Russia because Italy’s club scene is “played out”.

7. The voices in his head. So many voices in his head.

6. Conspiring with Valentine’s Day, snowstorm Nemo, and Katy Perry’s cleavage to take all of the focus away from Black History.

5. Being the Pope doesn’t get him as much ass as he thought it would.

4. Justin Timberlake’s Grammy performance inspired him into hip hop production/choreography.

3. New Star Wars movie auditions.

2. Diddlin’.

1. ILLUMINATI

C’mooooon black Pope.