Feb. 11, 2013 Yahoo
Pope Benedict XVI, 85, will become the first pontiff to resign since the 15th century, the Vatican announced on Monday. He steps down on Feb. 28.
The pope said he was resigning because he does not have the physical strength necessary to do the job.
"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," the pope said in a statement.
The pope took the helm in 2005, just when allegations that the church covered up sexual abuse by clerics were making waves in the U.S. and Ireland. Over the pope's next eight years on the job, sexual abuse allegations also surfaced in Germany, Norway and other European countries, and the ensuing crisis became one of the defining aspects of his tenure.
In a statement on Monday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the pope had brought a "listening heart" to victims of sexual abuse.
But some advocates and victims groups said on Monday that the pope did not turn his listening into adequate action.