Pope Benedict XVI will step down from office at the end of February, the first pontiff to do so since the Middle Ages, the Vatican said on Monday.
He once said in 2010 that he would not hesitate to be the 1st Pope to resign voluntarily if he feels he isn't spiritually, physically or psychologically capable to carry out his papal duties.
He 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.
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.”
85 year old Pope Benedict XVI, will be the first Pope in recent times to step down. The last to do so was Pope Gregory XII in 1415.