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Pope Benedict Resigns, Will Step Down On February 28

Pope Steps Down

Pope Benedict XVI will reportedly step down from his role as head of the Catholic Church later this month.

The report was confirmed by the Vatican on Monday. According to Reuters, Pope Benedict will vacate his position on February 28.

The Pope said in 2011 that he would voluntarily leave the position should he discover that he was no longer physically, psychologically, or spiritually able to lead the church. Financial Times reports that Benedict will be the first Pope in modern times to step down voluntarily.

He said in a statement:

“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.

“In today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesperson for the Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation was announced at a consistory meeting on Monday morning. The Pope will reportedly step down from his position as the leader of the Catholic Church at 1900 GMT on February 28.

The website also reports that Pope Benedict’s departure means that a new leader will be in place by the time Easter rolls around.

The Today Show explained that steps are likely being made to find a replacement. However, a new Pope cannot be moved into place until Benedict has vacated his position.

Are you shocked by the news of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation?

[Image by Wikimedia Commons]

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