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2013 0211 xpope 49.jpg

FILE - This July 10, 2009 file photo shows President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI said Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 he lacks the strength to fulfill his duties and on Feb. 28 will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. The announcement sets the stage for a conclave in March to elect a new leader for world's 1 billion Catholics. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, file)

Gallery: A look back at Pope Benedict XVI

Feb. 11, 2013 @ 09:13 AM

Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he will resign on Feb. 28.

The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals.

“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 told the cardinals.

Benedict, the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years, emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope — the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide — requires “both strength of mind and body.” He says he is simply too infirm to carry on.
 

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