Pope Benedict XVI Resigns First Pope to do so in 600 Years

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The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 85, became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005, following the death of John Paul II. While resignations from the papacy are not unknown, this is the first to be taking place in the modern era. The last abdication took place in 1296.

In his statement, the Pope said: “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. This is a shock almost all Popes stay in their post till death.

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