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In An Old Pope's Resignation, Lessons For Aging In Today's Fast-Moving World

The resignation of Benedict XVI is historic for the Catholic Church, but it also shows the difficulty of growing old in a society of constant demands and real-time technology.

Frozen in time?
Frozen in time?
Mario Calabresi

Ours is a society that demands speed, adaptability, reactions in real-time. Facing these facts, Pope Benedict XVI confessed his weakness last Monday with disarming awareness and words of utter clarity in announcing his plans to resign from the papacy: “In today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith," he said, speaking in Latin during a Vatican ceremony, "in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, 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.”

Almost an act of surrender before a world that is changing at a speed that a man who was born in 1927 could have never imagined. The pace and nature of communicating is shifting, as we are called on to comment on everything, immediately. But still, this 85-year-old man – even as he was already thinking about stepping down from the Pontificate – tried to keep up with this bustle of contemporary life by signing on to Twitter, with its short and syncopated 140-character messages.

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Two Ukrainian soldiers at a military base on the outskirts of the separatist region of Donetsk

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Halito!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine gets underway in Kyiv, Kim Jong-un slams North Korean officials’ response to the coronavirus outbreak and Mexico’s National Registry of Missing People reaches a grim milestone. Meanwhile, Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg looks at the rise of ethnic separatism across Russia’s federal regions.

[*Choctaw, Native American]

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