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Fox News alert as we witness an historic moment for the Catholic Church not seen in 600 years.
In just moments Pope Benedict the sixteenth will step down officially.
As head of the Roman Catholic Church.
And right now he is spending his final moments as Pope.
At the castle Gandolfo just outside of Rome.
You are looking at live pictures of the castle where you can see the Swiss guard.
They have protected the Pope.
Or five centuries.
Different hopes for five -- think of standing outside the doors.
In moments at 2 PM eastern time the pope's resignation will take effect the bells will -- The doors -- shot.
And the Swiss guard will walk off duty.
In what will be one of the few visible signs.
That Benedict the sixteenth is no longer Pope.
And we will begin seeing the first few steps.
To choosing a new leader of the Catholic Church.
Fox News contributor Father Jonathan Morris joins us live now from -- -- great to see you put it put it in perspective now for what what we're seeing what's about to happen.
In just a few minutes as you said Megan.
The Catholic Church -- one point two billion members.
Will not have a Pope.
This is a period called -- -- -- -- in which one Pope usually dies in this case resigns.
And then the college of cardinals begin to -- to a -- to new hope that won't begin for several days now.
But we're what we're seeing here is not something that just hasn't happened in 600 years really.
As it happened today it has never happened that eight bringing -- Would choose.
-- because of his own health.
Of mind and body is he said would pass on the authority to somebody else for the good of the church he says in these times this is what is needed.
In my opinion in in a remarkable not only historical but -- -- from a spiritual perspective a remarkable.
On active humility.
And and and one of you know these are important times we need a Pope who can handle the tough situations.
What will happen what as a practical matter what does it mean that for this time beginning in.
Three minutes and the Catholic Church will be without a -- While the college of cardinals will be taking care of the ordinary business of the church in these days if there was an urgent matter certainly they would come together and make a decision about that.
But generally speaking -- that the church is very local laws that you have parish priest give a local bishop.
And you don't need the -- -- making urgent decisions all the time.
And so during this time there will no -- no major decisions made internationally.
And the wait for a new -- I stood up here -- on this platform.
Looking over here at saint Peter's basilica and watch that helicopter take off.
It's it just to think that this man.
Had chosen to give up that that power that authority and go off into the sunset like that I think was a call to all of us Catholic or not.
Are we seeking the good of another person or rather -- a re holding on to power position.
-- and fame and of this man obviously is going to be taken off those red shoes going inside there and living in very very different -- life -- he's been living the last eight years.
-- give it giving up huge power and acknowledging.
The frailty of the human condition I mean just admitting that.
He physically no longer felt up to the responsibilities of being Pope which.
Is it is an admission of a different sort 11 that requires great humility out of town.
I think I think so Megan and and the fact is the Pope know is that in these times.
Communication travel so quickly.
Right and I and I know that during that the life of John Paul the second towards the end well he certainly give us an example of endurance and perseverance.
Pope Benedict the sixteenth was watching those last years of his life.
And seeing important work of the church not yet done and he said I don't think.
At least in these times the best thing for the churches for me to go through that same thing.
Have other people managed or mismanaged.
What needs to be taking care of quickly and well.
What now what so as we watch the castle and what we understand is going to happen is that at 2 PM eastern time.
Yeah the Swiss guard is going to walk away.
Just walk the walk away signaling that we no longer have the Pope because they're the ones charged with protecting our.
I'm hoping they have been for 500 years is that what is is going to happen.
That is true in those very -- fight and I can't see the images right now but if you're seeing the Swiss guards who who protect.
That the Pope.
Those those uniforms were made by Michelangelo great tradition and they said well not only do we protect the Pope but we only protect the Pope their -- there's no Pope.
And and that's -- and that's what they will be doing but his dream to -- the fisherman's ring will be taken off and it will be smashed in other words.
At this point there is nobody who is Pope.
And it's an example again that it's not about one person and -- leading the church the person leaves the church -- Jesus Christ the least that's our belief.
That the Pope as -- speaker.
Is is the one who who stands in and represents -- -- the leadership of the church and for saying.
He's no longer that and he's going to go now and live like a month and a couple of months to come back here to the Vatican behind me to live -- a monastery.
And he will not be giving out any communiques -- conference as a very different life.
Thought in my back and ask you stand by.
As we listen and watch.
-- And a Catholic Church is now officially without hope.
And Pope Benedict the sixteenth is officially.
In retirement now.
You -- father Jonathan talk about.
What he will do and what that means.
Swiss guard you -- so dignified.
Handling the moment.
None of that and has ever done this before this hasn't happened -- 600 years.
Hear her shouts from the crowd -- they'll pop off.
Live the Pope.
These this group.
The Swiss artist from protecting -- -- they say for 500 years you have to be Catholic.
You have to -- mail.
You have to be between the ages of nineteen and thirty and have completed your mandatory Swiss military service and you sign up for a minimum of two years.
For this duty let's watch again.
This now this now is Vatican security.
And they will now be charged with protecting the Pope.
The former Pope in his retirement that is the changing of the guard that we are witnessing -- -- And father Jonathan it was.
But it was moving in its simplicity and the seriousness with which all involved take care responsibilities when it comes to protecting.
The -- Most definitely and you and you know that that.
The simplicity that is there that's also beautiful right.
Is is representing not a need for.
Show or power but rather that this person.
In the poll.
-- represents for us someone much more important and that has got himself and that's why.
The Catholic Church takes this very seriously at the same time Pope -- the sixteen says you know what.
It's not because I'm so important in fact a -- here.
Right because I think there's another person -- is God's calling to do the task done that I was doing for the church and so there you have that that.
That that unbelievable contrast between all that solemnity at the same time someone who says that you know -- now.
I'm willing to live a life of that of quiet prayer and of the service and the very different -- the church I find it to be fascinating and inspiring.
And now that they've duties of the Swiss guard will resume as soon as the college of cardinals picks the new Pope.
Do we know father -- when that's going to happen.
Well what we know Megan is that on Monday the cardinals -- will be called officially.
To meet together most of them are ready here if not all of them.
But beginning on Monday they will be officially called to conclave.
And then on Tuesday begin what we -- -- congregations.
Are basically big.
Meeting's official meetings in which the cardinals begin to talk about the broad issues of the church.
And they also get to know each other in that way.
And even now.
And that cardinals have a long weekend tomorrow to -- a day off.
But it'll be a day off of getting to know each other more talking to each other discussing.
Real human things like do you know him well and what would he be like what his he's written what is he said.
Behind on Tuesday most likely the date for the conclave will be set.
After these congregations are over my gas would be maybe 567 days and after that first.
First meeting on Tuesday so we're talking about the end I think at the end of next week or the beginning of the following.
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