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Pope Benedict will be the first pope to resign in 600 years, after siting old age and health as a reason to leave the position.

Benedict XVI decided to announce his surprising decision to step down from his position February 28 after being elected in 2005 following the death of John Paul II.

The pope released a statement this morning, written in Latin and translated in six different languages.

“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 St. 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.”

A new pope will be elected in by Easter according to the Vatican.

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