Black smoke rises from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on April 18, 2005. Black smoke signaled that the cardinals sequestered inside had failed to elect a new pope, after the death of Pope John Paul II.
Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 4:10 pm
As The National Catholic Reporter points out, one of the reasons Pope Benedict XVI's resignation is so surprising is because "most modern popes have felt resignation is unacceptable. As Paul VI said, paternity cannot be resigned."
It's Monday and time now for the Opinion Page. And after today's stunning news from the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI plans to resign, we want to hear your opinion on his legacy. 800-989-8255 is our phone number. Email us: email@example.com. You can also join the conversation at our website. That's at npr.org, click on TALK OF THE NATION.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. The numbers from Syria can leave you numb: nearly 700,000 refugees now in neighboring countries, and the U.N. says their numbers grow by 5,000 every day, maybe two million internally displaced, 60,000 dead again according to the U.N., and that estimate came before the most recent intensification of combat in and around Damascus.