For the first time in nearly 600 years the Pope will resign. He made the announcement at a meeting of Cardinals.
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was chosen in a Papal enclave in 2005 and Inaugurated in April of that year. He is the ninth German Pope and was the oldest at the age of 78 to be elected since Pope Clement the XII in 1730. He cited his advanced age, 86, and health as reasons for his resignation.
As leader of the Catholic Church, the Pope is considered to be the successor of Saint Peter the Apostle.
His resignation at the end of this month will trigger the election of a new Pope.