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UPDATE: Full Statement from Pope Benedict XVI on his resignation

Pope Benedict XVIDear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 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 barque 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. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 11 February 2013
BENEDICTUS PP XVI


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Pope Benedict XVI resigns

Pope Benedict XVI upon his election in 2005

Pope Benedict XVI upon his election in 2005

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has shocked the world by resigning from the papacy. This is the first time in 600 years a pope has resigned.

The pontiff and Head of State of the Holy See will step down on 28th February with the Vatican saying it expects to elect a new Pope before Easter.

The Pope is 85 years of age and it is his frailty which will see him leave his ministry. He told a meeting of cardinals at the Vatican this morning of his decision, saying in Latin:

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 spiriual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.