Pope Benedict XVI will lead an emotional Ash Wednesday mass in St Peter's Basilica amid lingering doubts over his reasons for announcing the first papal resignation for almost six centuries.
In a scheduling change prompted by the surprise declaration, which sent shockwaves throughout the Catholic world, the Vatican said the location of the annual service, usually held in a smaller church, would be changed in order to allow more worshippers to bid farewell to the outgoing pontiff.
The Vatican was forced to deny once again that the 85-year-old's decision to step down after an eight-year reign had been prompted by a specific health problem as it emerged he underwent secret surgery to replace the batteries in his pacemaker three months ago.
Source: The Guardian. Read full article. (link)