A Vatican spokesperson announced Monday morning that Pope Benedict XVI will resign from his post Feb. 28, marking the surprising first resignation of a sitting pope in hundreds of years.
In a statement, spokesman Federico Lombardi said, “The pope announced that he will leave his ministry at 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) on February 28.”
The announcement seemingly came out of the blue, although The Telegraph noted signs in recent months of the Catholic leader’s decline: “Last year the Pope started using a cane on occasions and recently he appeared to have trouble reading the text of an address he delivered in Rome.”
In a statement published by the BBC, the Pope wrote: “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.
Pope Benedict XVI will be the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, since the resignation of Pope Gregory XII in 1415 ended the Great Western Schism, said AFP.
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