Shocking many this morning, Pope Benedict XVI
(Joseph Alois Ratzinger) announced his resignation in a small Vatican meeting of cardinals.
Pope Benedict meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
He said, "After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry." He is 85.
Pope Benedict is the first pontiff to willingly resign in more than 700 years, the last being Pope Celestine V in 1294. Benedict will serve his last day on February 28.
On April 19, 2005, Pope Benedict was elected the 265th pope of the Roman Catholic Church following the death of his predecessor John Paul II. At the time 78, he was the oldest pope in nearly 300 years.
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