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2013 0211 xpope 05.jpg

The statues of St.PeteR, left, and Jesus, center, are pictured at the Vatican, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI said Monday 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/Gregorio Borgia)

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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