Pope Benedict XVI stepping down as PopeMonday, February 11, 2013 by: Kate AdamsDuring a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning Pope Benedict XVI made a surprise announcement that he is resigning at the end of the month.
The 85-year-old notes that the carrying out his duties requires “both strength of mind and body," which his age and failing health will not allow.
“I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me,” Pope Benedict XVI said.
"My strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry."
The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII in 1415.
The resignation now sets the stage for the Vatican to hold a conclave to elect a new pope by the end of March.