Pope Benedict announces resignation, first in 600 years - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Pope Benedict announces resignation, first in 600 years

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Stating, "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 recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me," Pope Benedict XVI announced, Monday, his resignation, effective February 28 at 20:00 hours.

Benedict's resignation makes him the first pontiff to leave the papacy in nearly 600 years.

The 85-year-old Benedict announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on this morning, saying that "my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry."

A conclave to elect a new pope will take place before the end of March.

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