Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson looks up during an interview with the Associated Press, in Rome.

The resignation of Pope Benedict the 16th surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even his closest aides. But, it has emerged that the Pope made the decision nearly a year ago. Now, as Vatican officials try to manage a transition, questions are being asked about the challenges his successor will face. Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons reports from Rome.