The Pope is to resign at the end of this month in an entirely unexpected development, the Vatican has confirmed.
The 85-year-old became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005 following the death of John Paul II.
At 78, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest new popes in history when elected.
He took the helm as one of the fiercest storms the Catholic Church has faced in decades - the scandal of child sex abuse by priests - was breaking.
Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation. Here is the full text of his statement from the Vatican:
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonisations, 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 steer the boat 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 recognise 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.(BBC)
(FILES) This file picture taken on December 25, 2012 shows Pope Benedict XVI arriving to deliver his traditional Christmas “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013 announced he will resign on February 28, a Vatican spokesman told AFP, which will make him the first pope to do so in centuries. AFP PHOTO
Saliya Wickremasuriya Monday, 11 February 2013 12:00 AM
Recently Archbishop of Canterbury, Head of the Anglican Church, also resigned. What's going on in my religion? via DM Android App
pooooojapakse Monday, 11 February 2013 01:06 PM
Bullshit Judy, you capitalize here also. moslem opportunist.
pooooojapakse Monday, 11 February 2013 01:08 PM
Is POPE post is a job resign or an un-limited service to the man kind.? I'm sorry if someone can en-light me on this.
leela Monday, 11 February 2013 01:11 PM
When taken the contents of the statement in isolation,a good lesson for our politicians
Kodithuwakkuarachchi Tuesday, 12 February 2013 07:14 AM
If I were pope I would have resigned long time ago seeing all these pedophilia happening in Catholic churches around the world.
Add Comment Monday, 11 February 2013 07:39 PM
I am not a catholic but we should make Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith the pope.
funny Monday, 11 February 2013 07:40 PM
Believe me MFR also resign soon, due his culprit ministers
Dayan Monday, 11 February 2013 07:50 PM
He is great as he has realised that his age is a hindrance to carry out the duties of the pope. I wish the Sri lankan politicians Learn a lesson from the Pope.
Kondebendapucheena Monday, 11 February 2013 01:32 PM
Unusual can't remember in living memory we had a such situation at Vatican .always been when pope passed away we had a new one
KD Monday, 11 February 2013 08:02 PM
God bless the German Shepherd
kane Tuesday, 12 February 2013 07:29 AM
It seems to be fading to those frogs in the well.
lankason Monday, 11 February 2013 08:24 PM
disabled but how to miss the cravings?........ sri lankan politicians are like this noooooooo?
Supun achintha Monday, 11 February 2013 12:00 AM
God will bless him....long live..
via DM Android App
Pasel Monday, 11 February 2013 08:33 PM
Why ? be a pope until die Did Vatican chage his job description ?
dass Monday, 11 February 2013 01:55 PM
May this wisdom come to our politikos as well.
Chandra Monday, 11 February 2013 01:55 PM
This is news to us because we had wheel chair bound PMs, cane bound Defence ministers, another sick Pm so on. They never resign.
ANTON Tuesday, 12 February 2013 07:37 AM
ARE YOU FROM THIS WORLD OR SOME OTHER PLANET.
DD Tuesday, 12 February 2013 07:41 AM
It does not matter if there is a pope or not because Jesus lives forever..
kay parker Monday, 11 February 2013 02:02 PM
Let's appoint Uncle Mervin as the next pope
sick n tired citizen Monday, 11 February 2013 10:04 PM
MR any plans of retire after ur second term
raj Tuesday, 12 February 2013 10:56 AM
Why are you worried about the Catholics? What forced Rizana to go to Saudi? Don't insult the pope.
percy wijekoon Monday, 11 February 2013 10:54 PM
It is Gods wish,why speculate?
raj Tuesday, 12 February 2013 11:01 AM
They are not Catholics. Muslims don't like people joke about the prophet, but they will insult other religion, the for Buddhists.
Lal.Fernando. Monday, 11 February 2013 11:10 PM
I wish Holy Fater good health and peacefull retirement.God Blee you holy father.
raj Tuesday, 12 February 2013 11:01 AM
Do you think pedophilia is happening only in the Catholic church. Its happening in all the religions, only thing the other relion has suppressed the victims by money or death.
raj Tuesday, 12 February 2013 11:05 AM
Arul Monday, 11 February 2013 11:16 PM
I commend you for your good intention.
Roadrunner Monday, 11 February 2013 11:32 PM
you are correct, that is by free masons.
Roadrunner Monday, 11 February 2013 11:40 PM
once dedicated to god he cant withdraw from that position.
Roadrunner Monday, 11 February 2013 11:40 PM
He knows the truth. but cant accept.
Ann Tuesday, 12 February 2013 12:13 AM
people sound so ignorant when they make comments like this....
Anton James Tuesday, 12 February 2013 08:30 AM
This is not the first resignation of a Pope, it last happened 600 years ago.,
malkanthi Tuesday, 12 February 2013 01:20 AM
Has he ever mentioned anything about the children of Ishmael, Abraham's son to the bond servant?
Club Sandwich Monday, 11 February 2013 11:26 AM
may be he is forced to my Mossad and the Secret Society , New world order ya :)
DHA Monday, 11 February 2013 03:46 PM
We are going to miss you sir hope your successor carries on the good work.......
Chris Monday, 11 February 2013 12:00 AM
this was unexpected via DM Android App
Ann Monday, 11 February 2013 11:31 AM
must everything be a conspiracy with some folks? I'm curious to learn of the reason for him stepping down. Wonder if it could be due to health related issues
456fgr Monday, 11 February 2013 11:32 AM
It is due to ill health.
Rismi Monday, 11 February 2013 03:59 PM
All because of child sex abuse complaints against the church.
kumara Monday, 11 February 2013 11:32 AM
impeached like in SL?
SL Tuesday, 12 February 2013 05:55 AM
Yep, people tend to loose their mind when they get old and see illusions.
judy Monday, 11 February 2013 11:40 AM
AT last he had understood ISLAM is the only Religion
hussein Monday, 11 February 2013 12:00 AM
let us not make unacceptable comments on such a issue which will be hurtful to millions via DM Android App
Pope Benedict Tuesday, 12 February 2013 02:13 AM
Mata epaaa wela thiyenne.........
007 Monday, 11 February 2013 11:48 AM
The Catholic Church was rocked by child abuse under him. He was meat for the last night show host in the US.
Majeed Monday, 11 February 2013 04:24 PM
So many poor and starving catholics and yet look at that golden throne of the pope. Shameful!
Dalu banda Monday, 11 February 2013 11:50 AM
Could be an international conspiracy. But the word 'Resignation ' is unknown to this part of the world.
MagodisThuma Monday, 11 February 2013 11:55 AM
Will of the God !
ANTON Monday, 11 February 2013 11:55 AM
Jeez ........as stated, this is the first in world history and he is the only pope who strongly criticized and condemned child sex abuse by priests. Hope for the first time black or eastern pope will be elected to the catholic church.GOD BLESS YOU MOST HOLY FARTHER, GET WELL SOON.
jiggy Tuesday, 12 February 2013 06:03 AM
case of pots and kettles sticking together
MagodisThuma Monday, 11 February 2013 11:56 AM
Somebody is above the God ?
Maha Rajanani Monday, 11 February 2013 04:36 PM
Don't know whether the Most Holy Pope Benedict Found the TRUTH. Ameen!.
Thattaya Monday, 11 February 2013 04:38 PM
then who will look after the Dharmarajya..
Sapumal Bandara Monday, 11 February 2013 12:01 PM
I thought Sri Lanka was the only Banana Republic in the whole world.
Ravi Tuesday, 12 February 2013 02:53 AM
If he does not resign, Inform MR he will advice Vatican how to impeach him.
Joe Monday, 11 February 2013 04:48 PM
Pope Benedict is resigning due to Bad health there is no issue about it, There will be New Pope Soon, God Bless him!!!
Nadula Monday, 11 February 2013 12:00 AM
One God theory is fast fading. If Christianity to survive new world, it should come up with an explanation to extraterrestrials. via DM Android App
Cynic Tuesday, 12 February 2013 06:15 AM
There is a rumour that the Pope resigned in disgust after shaking hands with Mervin and Malaka.
ChickenParippu Tuesday, 12 February 2013 03:07 AM
some people are so narrow minded that they cannot stop relating every single thing to local politics.
Calistus Jayatilleke Tuesday, 12 February 2013 06:22 AM
God has give the Holy Father the courage and wisdom to call it quits due to physical infirmity, although as per tradition he could have gone on until his death. This is a great example in a world where politicians, especially in our country, never think of hanging their boots however much physically weak they are, due to greed for power. Let us pray to almighty God that they too be given the courage and wisdom to say enough is enough. Amen.
Ann Tuesday, 12 February 2013 03:07 AM
a voter Monday, 11 February 2013 05:21 PM
True it is a service. But he set the records straight by resigning when his health does not allow him to do the service.
raj Tuesday, 12 February 2013 03:11 AM
Christianity does not up with an explanation for anything. Either you believe in Christianity or not.
Joel Monday, 11 February 2013 12:00 AM
He was a great leader for his religion people, he did his best during his time unlike some religious leaders in our country who spread racism!!! via DM Android App
MIG-FromDubai Monday, 11 February 2013 05:59 PM
May be he Might Found the Truth and Embrace Islam.
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