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On Monday, February 11, Pope Benedict XVI stated he lacks the strength to fulfill his duties and on February 28 will be the date of his resignation. Pope Benedict XVI will be the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. This change will set the stage for a conclave or private meeting of cardinals in March to elect a new leader for the Catholic world.
The 85-year-old pope announced the news in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, surprising even his closest collaborators. The Benedict has previously made it clear in the past that he would step down if he became too old or physically irresolute to do the job. Benedict called his choice “a decision of great importance for the life of the church.”
The Vatican stressed that there is no specific medical condition that prompted Benedict’s decision, but more recently, the pope has slowed down significantly, cutting back his foreign travel and limiting his audiences. He now goes to and from the altar in St. Peter’s Basilica on a moving platform, to spare him the long walk down the aisle, and occasionally he uses a cane.
Read more at the AssociatedPress.org