Pope Benedict XVI made a statement on Monday that he will be resigning on Feb. 28. The pope told news media that because of his advanced age and decreasing strength, he didn't feel he could continue with the job.
Pope Benedict XVI is the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years.
According to ABC News here in San Francisco the pope no longer felt up to the job:
"The 85-year-old emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope and leading more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide requires both strength of mind and body. He says in the last few months, his health has deteriorated to the extent that he says he has recognized his incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to him."
The pope himself said in Latin to the 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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering."
The pope has been told not to make any more trips overseas as his walking is difficult. The pope's brother tells press that the thought of stepping down has been on the pope's mind for some time.
San Francisco resident, Alice Marshall, says: "I can understand that he wants to step down. It's a huge job with a huge responsibility. I wish him all the best."
So what happens now?
According to ABC News in San Francisco:
"The Vatican will hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope doesn't have to be observed."
There is nobody who is an obvious front runner but there are several contenders. Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.
Source: ABC 7 News
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