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  • Approved for CNN

  • Posted February 12, 2013 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Catholics: Your views on new pope

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    Vacancy at the Vatican


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     seeitnow visited the Vatican in early February while visiting friends in Rome. 'I was determined to see the Vatican and what all the fuss about this place,' he said. He produced this story following news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation.
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    In 753 BC Romulus and Remus, twin brothers raised by a wolf, built the city of Rome from the ground up. Or so the legend says.

    Today Rome is home to good food, a rich history dating back over twenty-seven-hundred years, and thousands of proud Roman citizens. But it's also home to a religion so large it requires its very own country.

    The Vatican at only 44 hectares is the smallest country in the world. It is a country within the city of Rome that houses the administration of the Catholic Church.
    This includes the Papacy, the office of the Pope whose job it is to lead and help manage all the world's Catholic people.

    But don't let it's small physical size let you underestimate the tremendous political power of the Vatican. It's been around longer than many countries, including America.

    So why did pope benedict resign? It's certainly not very common with him being the first to do so in at least 500 years.

    I would call his appointment the "no fun" papacy. He started at a time of increasing international religious tensions and the still, many unresolved sexual accusations that encompass the catholic church around the world.

    Certainly with his original appointment at the age of 75 nobody was expecting a lively pope going forward. Indeed elderly, frail Popes are quite common and the appointment is extremely onerous on the tiny country. Modern medicine has made living productively to 100 or more quite easy to achieve, especially if you have the virtually unlimited resources of the Vatican at your command.

    Which is what makes this all so very unusual.

    Built during the late Renaissance, St. Peter's Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world and one of the holiest of all Catholic sites. Saint Peter’s is decorated with immaculate art consisting of highly detailed murals and proud marble statues greeting visitors to the holy land.
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