Pope to resign for health reasons
Local reactions to the Pope's resignation
February 11, 2013, 11:00 PM AST
Last updated February 13, 2013, 8:53 PM AST
Pope Benedict has shocked the world with his decision to resign on Feb. 28 due to deteriorating health and old age. This will make him the first pontiff to step down in almost 600 years.
He announced his decision in Latin early Monday morning at a meeting of Vatican cardinals. The Pope, now 85, is facing declining health and has recently been using a cane to move.
Benedict said his strength, over 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.”
In a statement on Vatican Radio, the Pope said:
“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 fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.”
Before Pope Benedict , Pope Gregory XII was the last pope to step down involuntarily in 1415 to end a schism in the church.
One potential successor is thought to be Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who was appointed Cardinal in 2003.
Here are some reactions to the Pope’s resignation.