Pope Benedict XVI is to resign for reasons relating to his health, according to a Vatican spokesperson.
The 85 year old is due to step down on February the 28th. The Pope said he is “fully aware of the gravity of this gesture” but that he lacks the strength to govern Church due to age, according to Vatican’s spokesperson Federico Lombardi.
Vatican official says expects period between Benedict resignation and election of successor to be “as brief as possible,” the news agency reports.
In 2010, the 265th Pope said that he would not hesitate to become the first pontiff to retire willingly from his position in more than 700 years, if he felt himself unable, “physically, psychologically and spiritually” to run the Catholic Church any longer.
The last time a pope resigned was in 1415. Back then Pope Gregory XII pronounced the resignation, which the cardinals accepted.