Tuesday 11th February 2013 was the day Pope Benedict XVI changed the role of the leader of the Catholic Church in the modern era. No longer was it a life long vocation and calling, but more a very real, and challenging job. He believed he was no longer up to that role, and needed someone younger to step up. He will retire to life in a convent within the Vatican, returning to the title Cardinal Ratzinger.
However now the speculation begins...
Firstly, make sure you watch this:
It would be helpful if political commentators did. Then we could avoid headlines such 'Vatican seeks to appoint black Pope' as we are talking about some multi-national seeking a new CEO. The Holy Spirit will guide the Cardinals during conclave to appoint the 266th successor to St Peter, regardless of any conventional political agenda.
This CTS publication si worth reading if you want more detail: http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=21958
However if you are interested in the journey to being Pope, this is a very interesting video:
Rome Reports gives this insight into the 'key' Cardinals, possibly one of these will be the next Pope?
Whatever happens, it won't take too long to find out, the next Pope is likely be in place by Easter.