“I’m too frail to carry on” – pope resignation shocks the world

POPE Benedict XVI announced yesterday he will step down as head of the Catholic Church at the end of this month, becoming the first pontiff to abdicate from the role since the 15th century.

The 85-year-old Pope told his cardinals that he no longer had the mental or physical strength to fulfil his papal duties, and that he would leave the post on 28 February after almost eight years in the Vatican. His replacement will be elected by a group of senior cardinals.