I'm wondering what will happen next - I was living in Krakow in 2005 and that was a very surreal and strange experience.
I've already started seeing things about a potential black pope and hearing my students say how one would be the end of the world according to some prophecy. It's kind of sad as I can't see how it would make a difference, but Poland is not a multi cultural country.
As several of the early popes were of African origin there's also every chance that there has already been a black pope.
I'm not so sure that advancing old age factored into Pope Benedict's decision to resign his papacy. Please remember that in the entire history of Roman Catholicism, no pope has resigned for the reasons we were told today.
The "Doubting Thomas" in me can't help think that recent revelations concerning the Pope had something to do with his decision to resign. It was Pope Benedict, who, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was the Vatican's chief enforcer of the dictum, "Crimen Sollicitationis," twenty years prior to his elevation as the Vicar of Christ.
Originally written in latin and distributed worldwide to all Catholic bishops in 1962, it instructed them on how to deal with child abuse allegations against priests who solicited sex from the confessional.
It also dealt with "any obscene external act...with youths of either sex."
Finally, under the threat of excommunication from the Catholic Church, it imposed an oath of secrecy on the offending priests, their child victims and any witnesses.
Nowhere did it address helping those who suffered at the hands of pedophiliac clergy. The sole purpose of this document was the protection of the Holy Mother Church and not its innocent victims.