With the startling news this morning (Monday 11th February 2013) that Pope Benedict XVI is to resign from office, possibly and more probably due to ill health, the questions are starting to be asked as to what this now entails.
First and foremost, this is the first time since 1415AD that a serving pope will resign whilst in office and therefore a lot of procedures have to be carefully followed but there is no doubt that this has been well planned heretofore.
The timing is not all that surprising very simply due to the fact that it permits the calling of the cardinals for conclave at the beginning of March which will then see the election and consecration of the newly elected pope just in time for Easter.
This is following the well established tradition that no diocese should be left without an Ordinary or that no Ordinary should be anywhere else except in their diocese for the seasons of Christmas and Easter.
As Rome is the head of the Church and the Pope its diocesan head, then it would not do to have the body without a head at a very liturgically important time.
The only question remains as to who would possibly succeed and that is going to be well debated discussed and dissected over the next while.....but the important question of all is this....will he continue with the current schism or bring it to a halt and be a unifying leader as is required???