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Too Frail to Carry On - The Pope Steps Down

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If all goes to plan the Catholic church will have a new Pontiff in time for Easter. German Pope Benedict's decison to step down came as a complete shock. He says he's resigning because of his advanced years and that he no longer feels he has the strength to do the job.

He deliberated for some time before making this decision in the interests of the Catholic church. It is very rare for a Pope to resign but not unprecedented. The last time a Pope was willingly stepped down in 1294.

Pope Benedict is eighty five and will step down as spiritual leader of the world's over one billion catholics on February 28.

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Our guests:

John Berwick- A British-born journalist, John grew up in South Africa, where he completed a degree in Philosphy. He later moved to Belgium and Germany where he studied Theology. He continued to work as a correspondent for the South African media and later as a documentary film producer for the Central Office of Information in Britain. For the past ten years he has worked for DW-TV as a Religious Affairs Correspondent.

Philip Gessler – He earned his doctorate in history with research on the 'culture of memory'. After training as a journalist he worked for various publications, starting with the magazine Focus. Later he worked for the Berlin daily taz, where he mainly covered religious affairs. In 2004 he published a book on new forms of anti-Semitism. He now covers religion and society for public radio station Deutschlandradio Kultur.

Derek Scally is Berlin correspondent of the "Irish Times". He studied journalism in his native Dublin and cultural studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He  worked previously in New York for "The Irish Voice," the leading Irish-American  newspaper in the U.S. His main areas of interest are federal and European politics, business and the arts. He also reports on Polish affairs.