FILE - In this April 28, 2009 file photo provided then by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI stands by the salvaged remains of Pope Celestine V, in the 13th-century Santa Maria di Collemaggio Basilica, the symbol of the city of L'Aquila, whose roof partially caved in during the quake. Benedict XVI announced Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 that he would resign on Feb. 28 because he was simply too infirm to carry on - the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March. Pope Celestine V, the 13th-century hermit and saint, was one of the earlier popes to resign. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, 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.