Real and Imaginary Images of Newly Resigned Pope Benedict

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Humour did not spare Pope Benedict XVI who announced on Monday that we would resign on Feb 28.While the news prompted Vatican officials to prepare for the process of electing a new pope through a conclave in March, meme makers, bloggers and Twitter members had a field day poking fun at the situation, even the pope's images.

It did not help that the just-resigned pontiff succeeded the very popular and charismatic Pope John Paul II and even prior to his election eight years ago, he already had image problems, having been tagged as God's Rotweiller when he was still known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger because of his extremely conservative views.

It did not help soften his image even after he became pope the fact that Ratzinger is German and he was conscripted into the Hitler Youth as all 14-year-old males were during his time, although he was not enthusiastic and did not attend meetings.

And he has strong German features such as strong eyes, seen by some as scary.

although that was not apparent when he was a young boy

Others even used images of other popular characters

or made his other facial features more prominent

People who disagree with the Catholic Church's stand on contraceptives see him as a condom buster

but faithful and devout Roman Catholics view him as the Vicar of Christ and shepherd to millions of Catholics around the world.

However, there is no doubt that his resignation rocked the church

It even reopened an old prophecy of Saint Malachy that Pope Benedict's successor would be the last pope. The Irish saint named the next pope as Peter the Roman "who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations, when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people," quoted Worthy News.

The basis of the prophecy was a vision that then Archbishop Malachy received in 1139 when he was in Rome that included the name of every pope which totaled 112 from his time.

Pope Benedict is the 111th pope whom Saint Malachy said was Gloria Olivae or the glory of the olive, which appears to be correct since the Order of Saint Benedict is also known as the Olivetans.

However, Fr Fracis Lucas, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media pointed out that some of the saint's prophecies were not accurate.

"It's not always exact (and) the end of the world has always been prophesied and lately, almost every two years or every year we hear about a prophecy about the end of the world," the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted the priest.

"When you talk about prophecies, it's not always about the future. That is often times the wrong way of looking at prophecy. A prophet is somebody who speaks in behalf of somebody else," he said.

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