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Posted Feb 11, 2013, 8:42 am
Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down, saying his health is not good enough to remain the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Benedict will be the first pope to resign in 600 years when he leaves the throne of St. Peter on Feb. 28.
"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," the pope said in a statement released by the Vatican.
The 85-year-old Benedict was elected in April 2005, succeeding the long-serving Pope John Paul II.
Benedict will be the first pope to resign since 1415, when Pope Gregory XII ended the Great Western Schism by resigning.
The pope's position as Roman Catholic leader will be vacant until the church's cardinals convene to elect a new pontiff.