Pope Benedict XVI to resign

 Pope resigns

Pope Benedict XVI is to resign as head of the Catholic Church on February 28, The Vatican has revealed.

Pope Benedict said in a statement that his strength is no longer adequate to continue in office due to old age, according to Reuters.

He said he was "fully aware of the gravity of this gesture".

The 85-year-old said he had noticed that his strength had deteriorated over recent months "to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil 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."

He becomes the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years, announcing his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning.

A Vatican official said the period between Pope Benedict's resignation and the election of his successor will be "as brief as possible."

The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.

There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner as was the case when Pope Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.

The Pope decided to resign "after much examination of conscience and much reflection", according to the Archbishop of Westminster.

Pope Benedict XVI was born Joseph Ratzinger in 1927 and was the 265th Pope.

Ratzinger was 78 when he was elected to become Pope in April 2005 and succeeded John Paul II.

Here is the Pope's last tweet before today's announcement, sent yesterday:
Tolong Share ya ^^
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Pope Benedict XVI to resign