Photo Courtesy of Tadeusz Górny
Pope Benedict XVI said on Monday, February 11, he will resign on February 28 because he no longer has the strength to fulfill the duties of his office, becoming the first pontiff since the Middle Ages to take such a step.
Pope Benedict visited Lebanon in September 2012 for a three-day visit. The Pope issued a document known as the "apostolic exhortation," based on discussions among Catholic bishops at a Rome synod, on the Middle East in 2010. He also held an open-air mass in waterfront Beirut where pilgrims from Lebanon and the region participated.
The 85-year-old pope said he had noticed that his strength had deteriorated over recent months "to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me."
A statement from the Vatican added: "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."
A Vatican spokesman said the pontiff would step down on February 28, leaving the office vacant until a successor is chosen.