Pope Benedict XVl has opened the week with shocking news, announcing his resignation effective Feb. 28. The Pope issued a statement citing "strength of mind and body" as reasons for his decision. Previously known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the 85-year-old was elected in 2005 by Pope John Paul II.

According to a spokesman for the Vatican, the Pope's announcement was a complete surprise. The spokesman added that the Pope's decision was not over issues within the church. The New York Times notes that his abrupt resignation makes him "the first pope to do so in six centuries."

[via Gothamist]

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