Keep up to date with the latest news delivered direct to your Inbox.
11:36am 11th February 2013
The Pope is resigning.
The Vatican has confirmed he will step down at the end of February.
In a statement Pope Benedict XVI he says he is not strong enough to continue and realises the gravity of the move.
The 85 year old is the first to resign in 600 years.
Edward Pentin from the Catholic Herald says there have been rumours for a while: "He did say about 18 months ago in an interview that actually he wouldn't resign because of the difficulties currently facing the church, particularly with the sexual abuse scandal. That has died down a little since then, so he may feel that now it is OK to step down."
Here is the full statement from the Pope:
11:36am 11th February 2013
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, 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 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, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is. Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
Share This StoryTweet
Amber Heard reveals she was warned coming out as bisexual would end career
Johnny Depp's ex-wife Amber Heard has said she was told revealing her bisexuality would end her movie career.
President Trump admits defeat on healthcare bill: 'Damaging loss of face'
Whether you see Donald Trump's failed attempt to repeal Obamacare as an embarrassing defeat or a bold step to strengthen his grip on power depends on your faith in the president's political acumen.
Mosul civilians turn homes into bunkers to escape battle for Iraqi city
Trapped civilians in west Mosul have built bunkers in their homes to withstand the bombings and shootings as the final battle for the Iraqi city gets under way.
Three hurt in shooting near Lille metro station
Three people, including a teenager, have been hurt in a shooting near a metro station in northern France.
BREAKING: Man airlifted after plunging from cliffs
Cornwall News: Rescue crews were called to coastline near Lelant
Two teenagers found dead at cliffs in Cleveland
National News: Two teenage boys have been found dead on the Cleveland coast.
Cheryl announces birth of first child with Liam Payne
Showbiz News: The pop star and former X Factor judge Cheryl has given birth to a baby boy.
Prisoners in Mexico riot after escape tunnel is discovered
World News: Three inmates are dead and one has been injured after a prison riot in Mexico.
Alligator returns to give pro golfer fright
Sports News: An alligator bravely dispatched from the fairway by an American golfer during the Arnold Palmer Invitational returned for a second day - and this time it stood firm.