All the Interwebs are atwitter today over the news that Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down, the first pope to do so since His Holiness Velocipope resigned in 65 million BCE shortly before being hit by a meteor. Hey, did you know that Wikipedia keeps a list of sexually active Popes? Donate today.

Anyway, the Pope says this has something to do with his failing health, and since everything is part of God’s plan, basically he’s saying that he’s being aborted by God. I suspect there’s something else going on, though, like the fact that this happened shortly after the Pope joined Twitter and we all know how persuasive atheists on social media can be. When I Tweeted this hunch, I saw that many of you felt the same:

Amongst the Skepchicks, Daniela suggested this may have something to do with an ongoing banking controversy, though Mindy thought that it was either because he’s “a secret reformer who just couldn’t take it anymore so he quit so he could live in Costa Rica with his boyfriend” or “It’s come to light that he had an abortion.” So I open it up to all of you for this special PopeDay Afternoon Inquisition:

Why’s the Pope REALLY quitting?

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears on the weekly Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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30 Comments

  1. Avatar of Bjornar
    February 11, 2013 at 3:16 pm —

    Via my cousin, possibly from an unknown and unamed source: “He never did fully recover from that fight with Yoda.”

  2. Avatar of Karl Stevens
    February 11, 2013 at 3:18 pm —

    My guess:

    Darth Vader threw him down the energy shaft on Friday, and he resigned so that nobody finds out that he’s now operating as one of those blue Jedi ghost things (only red instead of blue because, well, evil.)

  3. Avatar of scribe999
    February 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm —

    He really had no idea how bad Twitter could get

  4. Avatar of DiscordianStooge
    February 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm —

    There’s a large German army poised to invade Rome if he doesn’t.

  5. Avatar of fmitchell
    February 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm —

    He narrowly escaped being an afternoon snack for the Vatican Spider. Or the St. Peter’s Basilica basilisk.

  6. Avatar of Filias Cupio
    February 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm —

    Bible in the fiction section: In my bookcases, I put my bible in the reference section – right next to Winnie the Pooh.

  7. Avatar of revmatty
    February 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm —

    In all seriousness I think the fact that he spent most of his career as a key architect and enforcer of the “protect child rapists and give them ample opportunities to continue raping children” and this truth is becoming more and more well known he opted to get out before a sitting pope has to acknowledge publicly that they value protecting their organization from any criticism more than they value any concept of morality.

    And the pun “ex Benedict” took me about 20 minutes to figure out.

    • Avatar of victoriadashtwenty
      February 11, 2013 at 11:56 pm —

      I don’t really find that explanation convincing. I mean, the easiest way to avoid criticism is to just cooperate with the legal system. It looks a lot worse when they provide the legal support for the child molesting priests. They were bribing victims to keep quiet while keeping these people in the same posts. They didn’t move them until it started becoming common knowledge that these people were child rapists. Then, instead of shipping them off to places where they couldn’t hurt people or at least posting them somewhere where they wouldn’t be molesting children while on the clock they put them right back in charge of children again.

      That’s not trying to protect their reputation, that’s straight up looking at the financial costs of allowing the victimization of children and deciding that yes, the Vatican can afford to rape a lot more children and that that is exactly what the Vatican will spend it’s limited resources on.

      If they really cared about their reputation, they probably wouldn’t have elected the public face of the scandal Pope.

  8. Avatar of Daniel Schealler
    February 11, 2013 at 4:59 pm —

    Clearing up his schedule to play more Minecraft.

  9. Avatar of yarro
    February 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm —

    He steps down before they find out he’s really Darth Moeder.

  10. Avatar of teragram42
    February 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm —

    Better hats. I’m sure he’s leaving for better hats.

  11. Avatar of James Fox
    February 11, 2013 at 6:20 pm —

    I doubt one ratz exiting the Vatican will change anything.

  12. Avatar of Louis Doench
    February 11, 2013 at 6:29 pm —

    ?”Benedict said in a statement today that he was retiring to spend more time searching for his Precious, which was stolen from him by the nasty Baggins.”

  13. Avatar of scribe999
    February 11, 2013 at 7:54 pm —

    He’s leaving to spend more time with his kids and taking time to pursue other opportunities while working on bettering himself.

  14. Avatar of robro
    February 11, 2013 at 8:53 pm —

    He’s headed to Thailand with Archbishop Gänswein. They’ll settle down to live a quiet, domestic life on the beaches of Phuket. Occasionally they may hit the slopes at Berchtesgaden. He still gets to wear the red slippers.

  15. Avatar of benbradley
    February 11, 2013 at 9:33 pm —

    He read William Shatner’s screed about Reddit and is dedicating his life to ridding Reddit of all its racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.

  16. Avatar of Thomas Penn
    February 11, 2013 at 10:09 pm —

    Do we have to keep making the tired old Palpatine jokes? Yeah, he’s a skinny, old, wrinkly, white guy with deep set eyes, but how is that relevant to what a terrible human being he is? Can we just move on from making fun of how people look? He’s far uglier on the inside.

    • Avatar of bcmystery
      February 12, 2013 at 9:18 am —

      I don’t think it’s his looks which drive the joke. It’s the fact that his outward guise is as the “good” leader of a powerful institution but inside he’s truly evil. If he was an ACTUAL good and decent wrinkly old man, we’d be making Ian McKellan comparisons.

      • Avatar of Thomas Penn
        February 12, 2013 at 9:51 am —

        I don’t think saying it’s not about his looks passes the sniff test. Obviously it’s about more than just looks, but people didn’t make Palpatine references to John Paul II, which could have been even more appropriate since he had a much shinier veneer than Benedict, so it fits your “outward guise is as the “good” leader of a powerful institution but inside he’s truly evil.” argument even better, and they people probably won’t make those references for the next pope either. Yes he’s a bad person who runs a bad organization, but that’s not the primary reason that people make the comparison. You give it away in your last line: People think he’s a bad person, who resembles this other ugly bad person, so it’s ok to make fun of him in that way. Also look at the picture at the top of the page. The whole joke of that picture is that he actually physically resembles Palpatine.

    • Avatar of marilove
      February 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm —

      I’m actually far, far, far more concerned about the tired jokes about pedophilia. Makes me skin crawl.

  17. Avatar of Grand Lunar
    February 11, 2013 at 10:49 pm —

    He forgot to make his payments on the Pope-mobile since taking office, so he felt he could get out of it by quitting.

  18. Avatar of Ubi Dubium
    February 11, 2013 at 11:27 pm —

    He’s been offered a job as a pundit on Fox News, of course

  19. Avatar of IsisUptown
    February 12, 2013 at 9:48 am —

    “You know, a few months ago, Stephen Hawking came out and said that his theory that Black Holes obliterate anything that falls into them, probably his biggest contribution to science, the theory that his fame and reputation is based on, may not be right.

    Wouldn’t it be great if the Pope could do the same thing? If he came out and said, ‘Oh my, I’ve just discovered what science shows us about our humble but spectacular place in the universe, and I have to say: it is thrilling and mind-boggling beyond all imaginings! It makes the Bible so puny and uninspired, and certainly less poetic, by comparison. I’m terribly sorry. I sincerely misunderstood so much. I almost wish there were a God so I could be punished for all the suffering I have obliviously caused in the world. But since there will be no cosmic punishment for me, I will spend what time I have left working in a family planning clinic in Latin America. Good day.’” – Julia Sweeney, “Letting go of God”

  20. Avatar of daedalus2u
    February 12, 2013 at 10:39 am —

    Maybe the suicides of the victims of the pedophile priests that he protected are getting to him.

    When he was young and strong, he had the ability to go through the mental gymnastics to maintain his belief but he can’t any more.

  21. Avatar of marilove
    February 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm —

    I actually think it’s because he’s old and frail, PLUS the financial scandals that are probably about to come out. It’s probably just too much for him. AND he wants to be able to have influence on the next pope — that’s a big one, I think, and something he would totally desire.

  22. Avatar of lofgren
    February 14, 2013 at 6:53 am —

    He got tired of shitting in the woods.

  23. Avatar of Alice Liddell
    February 17, 2013 at 11:27 am —

    He’s being arrested.. No one paying attention to this matter? Clearly you’re all just playing a guessing game and not actually paying attention to it.

  24. Avatar of enigma
    February 17, 2013 at 3:23 pm —

    I heard he was fired. Also heard he has done all he can with this job and wants to move on to bigger and better things.

  25. Avatar of Kevin Hengehold
    February 27, 2013 at 1:54 am —

    I remember him being brought in as a seat-warmer pope. Like, he was really old already, so this gave them time to find a pontiff they REALLY wanted while he infallibly fucked around for a few years. Maybe they finally found their guy, and it was an “exile or death” thing.

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