Pope Benedict XVI to resign at the end of the month

ROME – Pope Benedict XVI will resign on February 28, his spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told CNN Monday.

The 85-year-old pope is resigning “because of advanced age,” Benedict told the cardinals of the Catholic Church on Monday.

“Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,” the pope told the cardinals, according to the Vatican.

The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415. He did so to end a civil war within the church in which more than one man claimed to be pope.

Benedict, the 265th pope, is the sixth German to serve as pope and the first since the 11th century. He became pope in 2005.

He has led church after the third-longest papacy in church history and during a time in which the church is declining in his native Europe but expanding in Africa and Latin America.

Benedict’s time as pope has been marked with a series of scandals and controversies, including hundreds of new allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

READ HIS LETTER OF RESIGNATION HERE

CNN’s Chelsea J. Carter and Richard Allen Greene contributed to this report.

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7 comments

  • Rudy

    I hear the pope is stepping down at the end of this month. I would really like to see a female pope this time. If they have let chicks into Augusta National, then that boys clubs in Rome could loosen its clerical collars finally.

  • anonymous

    Being a Cardinal is not a requirement for being a Pope….there’s actually very few requirements for being Pope….the thing is, the Cardinals vote for the Pope, so….

  • Giorgio

    Too much to say about the Vatican mafia.
    The authorities should shut down the whole thing, which is nothing more than a nest to corrupt pedophiles!!

  • Shanna Carson

    Can we expect the Catholic Church to change with the next Pope? I don’t really think so. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, formerly the archbishop of Quebec City, has the best odds of replacing Pope Benedict XVI, but he is an extremely conservative man who will definitely not want the Catholic Church to change. He is expected to be the continuity of Pope Benedict XVI.

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