Pope Benedict the XVI is to resign as Catholic Pontiff on February 28, 2013. Details are still coming in at the moment. His official resignation statement has been posted on Vatican Radio's website and it reads:
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 fulfill 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
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.
From the Vatican,
10 February 2013
Best wishes to the Pope.