11 Feb 2013


POPE BENEDICT XVI announced on Monday February 11, 2013 that he will resign at the end of February because he no longer has the strength to effectively continue with the duties of his office, news services reported.
He is to become the first head of the Catholic Church to resign since after Pope Gregory XII who resigned in 1415 to end the Western Schism, after 9 years in office. BENEDICT XVI will be 86 years on April 16, 2013. He is retiring at the age of 85 after having been elected in April 2005 to succeed Pope John Paul II. He was the oldest man named to the papacy in almost 300 years. The Vatican said his departure would leave the post temporarily vacant.
Part of his resignation message reads:
 "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 with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.
"However, 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 recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me."
Pope Benedict XVI, a German, was born as Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger. He is the 265th Pope and head of the Catholic Church. Rumors that the Holy Father would resign his office had been common in the early years of his pontificate.
Catholic cardinals will now convene in Rome in order to choose a new pope.