The 85-year-old Pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning.
"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," he told the cardinals.
"I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiriual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.
Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi said: "The Pope announced that he will leave his ministry at 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) on February 28."
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Enter stage left, one Petrus Romanus
i don't get it! i thought the Pope job was for life!! somethings up here ... is this one of those never before in history things ../??
Lightning Strikes St Peter's Basilica as Pope Resigns: http://ning.it/WiPHVq