Report: Pope Benedict to Resign
A spokesman for the pontiff announced he will step down Feb. 28.
- February 11, 2013
Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday morning that he will resign, effective Feb. 28, according to the Associated Press.
CNN reported that a spokesman for the pope did not give a reason for the decision, announced during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, but according to the AP, the 85-year-old pontiff cited his "advanced age and diminishing strength."
The decision makes Benedict the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, according to the AP report.
In his statement posted on the Vatican website, Benedict said over the last several month his strength has deteriorated and "I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me."
Born Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI was chosen in 2005 to succeed the late Pope John Paul II.
The Vatican could hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, according to the AP.
In a statement posted on the Diocese of Joliet website, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon said:
Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign comes as a surprise to all of us. Yet, it is consistent with the humble disposition that I have come to recognize in him, both in my brief personal encounters with him and in his deportment generally as earthly shepherd of the Church. ...
The Holy Father has been a true blessing to us. He has been able to express the truths of faith in ways that are comprehensible for our times. He has been a steady and calm presence in the face of tumult in the world.