By Katie O’Donnell 2-11-2013
This hasn’t happened in 600 years.
Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will be stepping down as head of the Roman Catholic Church on February 28th. He is the first to do so since Pope Gregory XII in 1415. This news comes as Catholics are gearing up for the start of Lent.
The 85-year old Pontiff gave a speech in Latin explaining why he will be abdicating the Papal throne before Easter. “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,” said the Pope.
The Vatican expects the cardinals to arrive in March for a conclave. Their goal will be to elect a new Pope before Easter. The cardinals must agree to a two-thirds majority when electing the new pope, according to a decree by Pope Benedict XVI.