The last pope to step down was Gregory XII in 1415, who did so to end a civil war within the church.
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Monday, February 11
By Shannon Antinori Some Catholics reacted with shock Monday as Pope Benedict XVI announced his plans to resign on Feb. 28, 2013. The decision came during Lent, a time of penance and the liturgical season leading up to Christianity’s most important holiday, Easter. With his announcement, Benedict becomes the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years. On Monday, Diocese of Joliet Bishop Daniel Conlon expressed surprise at the pope’s decision. “Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign comes as a surprise to all of us. Yet, it is consistent with the humble disposition that I have come to recognize in him, both in my brief personal encounters with him and in his deportment generally as earthly shepherd of the Church,” Conlon said in a statement …
A spokesman for the pontiff announced he will step down Feb. 28.
By Shannon Antinori Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday morning that he will resign, effective Feb. 28, according to the Associated Press. Get news in your inbox. Sign up for the Patch newsletter. Like Naperville Patch on Facebook. CNN reported that a spokesman for the pope did not give a reason for the decision, announced during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, but according to the AP, the 85-year-old pontiff cited his "advanced age and diminishing strength." The decision makes Benedict the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, according to the AP report. Born Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI was chosen in 2005 to succeed the late Pope John Paul II. The Vatican could hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, according to the …