For the first time in nearly 600 years, the Pope is resigning.
Pope Benedict XVI will step down at the end of the month, saying his health is deteriorating. He said it made it challenging to carry out the job effectively.
The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals Monday morning.
The pope said in a statement that leading more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide requires "both strength of mind and body."
Statement by the President on His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
On behalf of Americans everywhere, Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Michelle and I warmly remember our meeting with the Holy Father in 2009, and I have appreciated our work together over these last four years. The Church plays a critical role in the United States and the world, and I wish the best to those who will soon gather to choose His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.
What does one of the men whose name has been floated to replace the Pope think about his decision? Cardinal Timothy Dolan says he hasn't really had a chance to think about the future.
"Almost in mourning. He is still with us and praise god he will be for a long time, but we are going to miss him. He is not going to be the Pope. I have been mourning that because I love him. When I heard the news today, which I initial thought was a rumor. I was reading his book, that is how much of my day he is," Dolan said.