FILE - This March 27, 2005 file photo shows late Pope John Paul II appearing from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for the Easter Sunday blessing. The closest of confidants, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger watched from the front row as Pope John Paul II, once a strapping athlete, steadily deteriorated in his later years. John Paul, burdened by Parkinson's disease and crippling hip ailments, could no longer walk or talk at the time of his death in 2005 at 84 — a picture of suffering that moved the faithful while presenting a disturbing vision of papal frailty. Ratzinger, elected as Pope Benedict XVI, was at 78 the oldest pope in 300 years. With his resignation, on Feb. 28, 2013, it is clear that he has sought to spare the church another agonizing end — and, in the process, perhaps help the church keep pace with the realities of modern-day medicine. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, file)

Associated Press
FILE - This March 27, 2005 file photo shows late Pope John Paul II appearing from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for the Easter Sunday blessing. The closest of confidants, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger watched from the front row as Pope John Paul II, once a strapping athlete, steadily deteriorated in his later years. John Paul, burdened by Parkinson's disease and crippling hip ailments, could no longer walk or talk at the time of his death in 2005 at 84 — a picture of suffering that moved the faithful while presenting a disturbing vision of papal frailty. Ratzinger, elected as Pope Benedict XVI, was at 78 the oldest pope in 300 years. With his resignation, on Feb. 28, 2013, it is clear that he has sought to spare the church another agonizing end — and, in the process, perhaps help the church keep pace with the realities of modern-day medicine.  (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, file)
FILE - This March 27, 2005 file photo shows late Pope John Paul II appearing from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for the Easter Sunday blessing. The closest of confidants, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger watched from the front row as Pope John Paul II, once a strapping athlete, steadily deteriorated in his later years. John Paul, burdened by Parkinson's disease and crippling hip ailments, could no longer walk or talk at the time of his death in 2005 at 84 — a picture of suffering that moved the faithful while presenting a disturbing vision of papal frailty. Ratzinger, elected as Pope Benedict XVI, was at 78 the oldest pope in 300 years. With his resignation, on Feb. 28, 2013, it is clear that he has sought to spare the church another agonizing end — and, in the process, perhaps help the church keep pace with the realities of modern-day medicine. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, file)