Photo Gallery Heavenly Signs and the Papal Resignation

The day before it happened, a German cartoon calendar prophesied the pope's resignation, and then lightning struck St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Were these mysterious events just coincidence or a sign from God?
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Katharina Greve originally drew the cartoon for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung about a year and a half ago. It then appeared in the 2013 "Karicartoon" daily page-a-day calendar on Sunday, February 10 -- the day before Pope Benedict XVI announced he would step down. In the bubble, Benedict says "Holy sack of straw!," after realizing he won the lottery. "I'm quitting tomorrow!"

Foto: Katharina Greve/ Espresso Verlag
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Another sign from God? Late on Monday afternoon -- after Benedict's historic announcement -- lightning struck St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Some called the images of the strike a hoax, but the BBC also caught it on video.

Foto: Alessandro Di Meo/ dpa
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Here, the same lightning strike captured by an AFP photographer. It came just hours after a senior cardinal had said that Benedict's announcement was like "bolt of lightning in a clear blue sky."

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There were perhaps other heavenly signs that change was coming. On Holocaust Remembrance Day at the end of January, Pope Benedict XVI released a dove of peace -- which was then promptly attacked by a seagull. What does it all mean?

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Here, the pope with his older brother, Rev. Georg Ratzinger, who said that he knew of the pope's pending announcement long before it was made on Monday.

Foto: dapd
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