Pope Benedict XVI to resign at end of February

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For the first time in nearly 600 years, the Vatican has announced a pope is going to resign.

Pope Benedict XVI, who was elected pope in 2005, has revealed he will be resigning "because of advanced age." The 85-year-old will continue to act as the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics until Feb. 28, at which point he will likely retire to a monastery.

"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," he said, according to the Vatican.

During a news conference, Rev. Federico Lombardi said a new pope will be chosen before Easter. As for Pope Benedict's decision to retire, he said, "It's not a decision he has just improvised. It's a decision he has pondered over."

Now the real question is: What is he going to do with those 1.5 million Twitter followers? Just kidding!

Are you surprised by the pope's decision to retire?

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