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Lightning strikes Vatican hours after Pope's shock resignation

Vatican, Feb 13 (The Mirror) : The lightning touched the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, one of the holiest Catholic churches, after the Pope's shock admission he lacks strength to do the job.

The Vatican stressed that no specific medical condition prompted Benedict's decision to quit -  the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.

The move surprised even his closest aides, even though Benedict, 85, had made clear in the past he would step down if he became too old or infirm.

In recent years, the Pope has slowed down significantly, cutting back his foreign travel and limiting his audiences.

He now goes to and from the altar in St Peter's Basilica on a moving platform, to spare him the long walk down the aisle. Occasionally he uses a cane.

His 89-year-old brother, Georg Ratzinger, said doctors had recently advised the Pope not to take any more trans-Atlantic trips.

"His age is weighing on him," Mr Ratzinger said. "At this age my brother wants more rest."

Benedict announced his resignation in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, calling it "a decision of great importance for the life of the church."

He emphasised that carrying out the duties of being pope requires "both strength of mind and body."

He told the cardinals: "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."

The Vatican will hold a conclave before Easter to elect a new pope, with Benedict holding great sway over who should succeed him to lead the world's one billion Catholics.

Benedict has already hand-picked the bulk of the College of Cardinals - the princes of the church who will elect the next pope - to guarantee an equally-conservative legacy.

There are no obvious front-runners to replace him - the same situation when Benedict was elected in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.

Given half of the world's Catholics live in the global south, there will once again be arguments for a pope to come from the developing world.

When Benedict was elected aged 78, he was the oldest pope chosen in nearly 300 years.

He raised the possibility of resigning if he were too old or sick to continue, when he was interviewed in 2010 for the book "Light of the World."

"If a pope clearly realises that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign," Benedict said.

The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had an intimate view as Pope John Paul II, with whom he had worked closely for nearly a quarter-century, suffered through the debilitating end of his papacy.           

The Vatican said immediately after his resignation that Benedict would go to Castel Gandolfo, a summer retreat south of Rome, and then would live in a cloistered monastery.

Benedict said he would serve the church for the remainder of his days "through a life dedicated to prayer."

He despised rock music, liberals, abortion and contraception: Controversial pope who never wanted the job - Brian Reade on Benedict.

Comment on this article

  • Josie, Canada

    Fri, Feb 15 2013

    Matthew 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away. Mark 8:12 He sighed deeply and said, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it."

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Josie, Canada

    Fri, Feb 15 2013

    Was the lightning strike, coming just hours after Pope Benedict's announcement, evidence of God's wrath, or some ominous sign from above? Perhaps, but it was more likely the natural result of a rainstorm that was passing over Rome at the time.Lightning often strikes religious symbols, because they are usually placed high in the sky and are, in many cases, the highest thing around. Coupled with the fact that they're often made of metal, lightning striking religious statuary or other icons seems quite normal.Brazil's 130-foot "Christ the Redeemer" statue atop Rio de Janeiro's Sugarloaf Mountain, for example, has been struck by lightning several times since it was completed in 1931.
    Secular objects are also often struck by lightning. Airplanes are struck by lightning frequently, and the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and other tall buildings have all been hit.
    St. Peter's Basilica is the tallest dome in the world at 448 feet (137 meters) from the floor to the cross that was added to the very top by Pope Clement VIII in the 16th century. A lightning rod points skyward from the top of that cross — it's likely that this is what was struck by lightning Monday.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sunil D'Souza, Mumbai / Mangalore

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    Mr. Tony pinto perhaps is ignorant on technological developments in the world. The people who tried to make publicity saying that Americans did not go to moon actually tried to make money by selling a book called "We never went to the moon"

    If you read this book and have knowledge of simple physics you would clearly understand that the book is fake and not the moon landings. But this old man who published the book was wise enough to understand that foolish and curious people like me would buy a copy to read and then contradict his book. BUT END POINT IS HE MADE HIS MONEY SELLING MILLION COPIES AND GOOD PUBLICITY

    DisAgree Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Stephen, mangalore / Dubai

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    Just for the information of the people, who feels lightning photo shown above is camera trick, I can bet, lighting photo can be clicked by lowering camera shutter speed. So, no point in saying this is not a real picture.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dev, Mangalore

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    on Moon Landing-
    Apollo 16, astronaut Charles Duke has left behind his family photograph on the face of moon, including all the footprints still there with no wind to erase them from 40 years or more!
    How come Tony(pseudo named)is right when whole world knows the Truth?
    Was the soil & rocks brought to earth by them, are fake too?

    DisAgree [1] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jaimini P.B., Mnaipal,Sharjah

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    Mr.Tony may be right ! I believed Makaravilakku (Jyoti) at Shabarimala was something from God's hand till recently.But very disappointed to know that there is no God's hand but Man's hand behind Makaravilakku! So,it is not a miracle here too...might be a co incidenct or photo trick..

    DisAgree [21] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alwyn, mangalore

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    Tony , mangalore

    DisAgree [18] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Valerian Dsouza, Udupi/Mumbai

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    Dear Vishal, Mangalore/Bangalore
    How photographer managed to click that photo within a fraction of a second?
    Definitely St. Peter's Basilica would have ultra modern surveillance camera's for security.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Thomas, Dubai, Mangalore/Dubai

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    It is a fake Tony Pinto not a catholic in realty if he is not fake some lightning will light his brain in the next monsoon in Mangalore.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vishal, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    Hope Vetican investigates the issue scientifically and if this is true, it is definitely a message through a miracle.

    The thing which is not understandable is that where was the photographer and how he managed to click that photo within a fraction of a second. I hope that it is not the photographer's mischief. There is a need to make a thorough study in this regard in order to be free from the humiliation such as the secret of "Makara Jyothi" of Shabarimala.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Basil, Dubai

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    When we die only our world ends. Science said this world having million years history.Pope is right.When his mind and body was functioning well he had served.There are many blessed cardinals are there to lead by divine's choice.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • juliana, udupi

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Devil trying to show off strength.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sathish Shetty, Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    I agree with the miracle that lightening strike the builiding not caused any dammage to the building nor to the electric supply.Even it is so powerful it is failed to illumiate the illuminated the building

    DisAgree [3] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • rajesh, mulki

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Tony anna...eeth DISAGREE konath poyere baadigeda tempo bodaanda panle..kadapuduga..(just kidding..)

    DisAgree [4] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • jimmy noronha, Bellore, Lucknow

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    In the Play Julius Caesar, Shakespeare says: "When beggars die, no comets are seen, Heavens themselves blaze forth the death of Princes." Now one can make out whatever one wants out of what is said above. But one can as well presume that the frailty of the Pope is well conveyed by that conspicuous lightning.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse


    Wed, Feb 13 2013


    DisAgree [22] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dev, Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Anybody disputing moon landings have every right to remain ignorant in 21st century.
    Reader's Digest had special article, where every doubts were cleared in Book Section a few years back.
    Saudi Prince who was taken to space by US, agreed man had landed on moon as all the photos & videos were not fake as he himself saw how earth looks from space & how moon landers could have seen earth from their landing area.
    They(non-believers) might not believe in space stations where humans have spent more than a year as well with no gravity as well.
    Kalpana Chawla or Sunitha Williams of Indian Origin haven't gone into space or haven't become Legends according to their belief.
    I hope at-least their great grandchildren will visit moon or space & then they might say- you liers don't cheat me!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'Lore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Dear Harrick/Kunder.

    But really I feel like writing thisKnow what the greatest joke of centuries or down the ages is?People from all hues or sects or relegion ing or even electing 'An Enlightened Soul'(more often than not after he bodily disappears) as their Spiritual Leader/ God and become his followers!He becomes their property only and is 'possessed' by them for all purposes. In short they hold a 'patent' over him!Anyone who wishes to know something or read something about that 'soul'has certain conditions to follow,some routines to adhere to -Why? You do 'prayer' in a certain way -You belong to this otherwise that- A ridiculous state of affairs-this!!Why this restriction? Why these curbs?Men who did this only know!This -My God -Your God thing has reached such proportions that even the seemingly
    educated fall prey to it! Religious scholars revel in it- One contending after the other as to how their Religion or God is superior over the other! In between the gist of everything beautiful told by the great Seers, Masters of yore get drowned in the din!Then we wait for 'lightning' or something other to tell us something! What about our inner voice? Has it gone mute?

    DisAgree [19] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • gilbert, mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Tony Pinto, you got 107 disagree , that means in sight of man your wrong , BUT in Sight of God Your Right. People always against for . TRUTH. don't discourage . ALWAYS , Comment TRUTH ......GOD BLESS YOU

    DisAgree [28] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Joy raj, Mangalore / Brunei

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Dear mr pinto, will you use ur real name next time ? Don't use fake names to show ur jealousies .....
    Who told you that Neil Armstrong never landed on moon? Those e- mails are fake my dear friend as many people still believe that moon is God...anyway.....
    Regarding lightening at Vatican.... It's not the photo of some Charlie Pinto from u will understand....or God Bless you and will open your blind eyes...

    DisAgree [12] Agree [39] Reply Report Abuse

  • Juliet Mascarenhas, Bejai/Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Mr. Tony Pinto
    John 20.24-29 Jesus and Thomas.
    "How happy are those who believe without seeing"
    We the RC's believe in Holy Catholic church and in this year of Faith we pray to the redeemer to strengthen our faith and thereby we stand united.

    DisAgree [10] Agree [56] Reply Report Abuse

  • Albert Gonsalves & family, Mangalore / U.A.E.

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    We are shocked and saddened by Pope Benedict' resignation, but all the same salute his courage and his decision as it did in the spirit of free will. Dear readers Check on &

    DisAgree [4] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'Lore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Dear Mr Harrick
    May be. You may be guided or as may be dear Kunder,as are all by the Holy Bible. For me however, Master's and Enlightened souls go nowhere.They are omnipresent.Some see them sometimes-don't they?I confess I do not know the intricacies of any scriptures.

    DisAgree [15] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • K Mathew, Valencia

    Wed, Feb 13 2013


    DisAgree [6] Agree [37] Reply Report Abuse

  • Herrick, Mumbai / Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Dear Mr. Bhandarkar.
    Mr. Kunder is right as i know this person knows the bible very well and he is talking about the second comming i.e. rapture which you are not aware.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [40] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'Lore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Dear Kunder
    Jesus is always there
    He has not gone anywhere
    Come lightning or thunder
    He will always take care.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [84] Reply Report Abuse

  • Amin Bhoja, Patte / Riyadh

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Sometime in our life we see good happenings and some bad one, but each time we remember him.It is the belief it makes us the most. 'GOD' is there and we see him in different forms.But it differs with people to people i.e believers and non believers.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [33] Reply Report Abuse

  • H Kunder, Mumbai / Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    The thunder and lightning convey the power and majesty of God.


    Jesus is comming very soon.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [91] Reply Report Abuse

  • Peter Lewis, Brahmavar/Sharjah

    Wed, Feb 13 2013


    DisAgree [6] Agree [63] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mangalore/Mumbai/Mapusa

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    If at all there was lightning it is pure co-incidence............

    DisAgree [32] Agree [41] Reply Report Abuse

  • Praveen, Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Tony Pinto, Mangalore.

    No one asked you to believe and connect the incident to the popes resignation. but the incident is real, that is clear and loud.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [68] Reply Report Abuse

  • Valerian DSouza, Udupi/Mumbai

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Our God is God of signs and wonders!
    Through the word he first created whole universe and all creatures!
    God speaks through his prophets, with whom he is pleased!
    But lay people can not understand what does the signs are signifying!

    DisAgree [10] Agree [61] Reply Report Abuse

  • Daniel, Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Vatican does not need or do the 'propaganda' for anything for any reasons. To justify more, even on faith claim miracles many too (which we hear all over) as Vatican will not support till proved divine and true.
    Yes media and individuals may do propaganda on Vatican's name for their personal benefit.
    Vatican does not need any propaganda nor anybodies endorsement. It is empowered and moved by God as the Lord God Jesus Christ foretold.
    That is why it is still Strong and growing holier against the modern world challenges and surrendering to evil in human acts.
    In present time there is no other Body but and except the Only Vatican/ Catholic Church which raises voice against abortion,..etc evil/ inhuman social issues without compromising on the basic teachings of the Lord Jesus, even if someone goes astray against it.
    Remember "Mt.16: 18 "..and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it...."
    Dear Tony Pinto, Mangalore, may find light to accept the truth.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [73] Reply Report Abuse

  • MANOJ, Jeddah

    Wed, Feb 13 2013


    DisAgree [15] Agree [57] Reply Report Abuse

  • Melwin Pinto, Mangalore/ Rome

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Dear Alwyn, Tony and others,
    The Lightning did strike, and I am a witness to it, since I was close by... You may take it as a 'sign' or a sheer coincidence. It was certainly not a clear sky! Rain and heavy winds were forecast even before the Pope announced his resignation. But to tell you honestly, after being here for a year I have never heard a thunder here in Rome as loud as what I heard on Monday. The flash of lightning too was extraordinary. The occasional low intensity flashes of lightning and rolling of thunder continued for another half an hour or so. This is just for your information.
    This is not Vatican's 'publicity' please!!

    DisAgree [11] Agree [140] Reply Report Abuse

  • Naufal, Uddabettu

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    In Mangalore we have seen many lightnings.Can we assume that,some religious leader is resigning.It is Natural things.Nothing to do with the anybodies resignation.

    DisAgree [108] Agree [41] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lavina Pinto, Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Those who against church or Pope like Tony & Alwyn can pass this type of comments. Its upto them to believe or leave.

    DisAgree [18] Agree [99] Reply Report Abuse

  • Juliet Mascarenhas, Bejai/Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    A message of God to choose the right shepherd and increase faith.

    DisAgree [12] Agree [73] Reply Report Abuse

  • cyril mathias, udupi

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    the news of the pope resigning came as a lightening.It shook all the devotees.The decision to resign is justified on health grounds.May the Church have a new Shepherd.I welcome the decision of the holy Father.

    DisAgree [10] Agree [55] Reply Report Abuse

  • Browny - Kuwait, Kuwait

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Dear Tony Pinto,
    The lightening strike is real. Some of my friends witnessed that. This is not the propaganda from Vatican. Vatican has not taken this photo or the video. This video and photos are taken by the well renowned press reporters. Its easy to criticize the church and its leaders. You must keep in mind that the HOLY SPIRIT is taking care of our church.

    DisAgree [20] Agree [127] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sanjeev Kamath, Udupi / Bahrain

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Indeed a miracle on a clear sky day. I had the life-time opportunity of seeing him at Mount Nebo Church (marking the spot where Moses first saw the Holy Land), where he announced the start of his pilgrimage in May 2009. May Lord bless him with good health.

    DisAgree [12] Agree [97] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alwyn, mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Yes Tony you are 100% right

    DisAgree [117] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

  • Tony Pinto, Manglore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Dear Praveen Pinto, Mangalore even the MOON PHOTO/ ME & i have snap seen above my head this is just a PHOTO CAMERA MOVEMENT HOW you CLICK in which angle rubbish even MOON is far away from us nothing more than that ......even Mr. Armstrong once told he has visited MOON but they or he has never gone in his life time . Just a useless propaganda by VATICAN

    DisAgree [235] Agree [50] Reply Report Abuse

  • Praveen, Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Aloka Nath, Bengaluru .

    I did not understand you question.
    if you are asking about the lightning , yes it real. i have seen in many news channels.

    DisAgree [17] Agree [85] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'Lore

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    Even in Clear Blue Skies
    If Lightning Strikes
    At the Altar
    Always Lies the Nectar.....

    DisAgree [39] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Aloka Nath, Bengaluru

    Wed, Feb 13 2013

    But what about lightning, is it real???

    DisAgree [35] Agree [73] Reply Report Abuse

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