urx unit loader Pope Benedict XVI to resign at end of February
pope benedict xvi retires Pope Benedict XVI to resign at end of February

For the first time in nearly 600 years, the Vatican has announced a pope is going to resign.

Pope Benedict XVI, who was elected pope in 2005, has revealed he will be resigning “because of advanced age.” The 85-year-old will continue to act as the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics until Feb. 28, at which point he will likely retire to a monastery.

“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,” he said, according to the Vatican.

During a news conference, Rev. Federico Lombardi said a new pope will be chosen before Easter. As for Pope Benedict’s decision to retire, he said, “It’s not a decision he has just improvised. It’s a decision he has pondered over.”

Now the real question is: What is he going to do with those 1.5 million Twitter followers? Just kidding!

Are you surprised by the pope’s decision to retire?