[<< wikinews] Pope Benedict XVI resigns effective February 28
Monday, February 11, 2013 

Earlier today, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI plans to step down from his position as leader of the Roman Catholic Church effective February 28.
The Pope gave reasons in a statement: "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."
Reports of the news appeared quickly on Spanish and French language television.  The Vatican had not immediately updated their website with the news.  There will be a press conference this afternoon where additional details will be provided.
The news quickly became a trending topic on Twitter in Spain, France, and Italy.  Within a half hour of the news being released, it had become a trending topic world wide.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope aged 78 in 2005 after the death of John Paul II.

== Sources ==

Paul Owen. "Pope resigns – live reaction" — The Guardian, February 11, 2013
 "Pope Benedict XVI is to resign" — BBC News Online, February 11, 2013
 "Pope Benedict to resign - spokesman" — Reuters, February 11, 2013