The Vatican stated today that Pope Benedict XVI will resign on February 28th, and cited health concerns as the reason for his departure.
The Vatican hopes to elect a new pontiff before the end of March. Pope Benedict is the first pontiff to step down since 1415.
He emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope — the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide — requires "both strength of mind and body."
"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," he told the cardinals. "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.
Who do you think should be the next pope???