By now most Catholics have heard the news that the Pope Benedict XVI will be stepping down from the papacy effective February 28, 2013. The news is startling to say the least. Here is the official announcement in the Holy Father's own words.
Now that I've gotten over the initial shock and read his reasons, I can understand his reasoning. His advance notice facilitates an orderly transition - and one that hopefully continues the trajectory of Benedict's pontificate. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to guide the conclave when they meet in a few weeks.