Pope Benedict XVI is the first pontiff since the Middle Ages to resign

The 85-year-old German-born Pope said he no longer has the strength to fulfil the duties of his office
  • 8 April 2012: Pope Benedict XVI delivers the “Urbi et Orbi” Message at The Vatican. Pope Benedict—named after the patron saint of Europe—is the first pope to announce his resignation in six centuries. AFP
  • 10 May 2007: Pope Benedict XVI watches a fireworks spectacle in Sao Paulo. He became Pope at the age of 78, in 2005 following John Paul II’s death and was one of the oldest popes in history when elected. AFP
  • 2 May 2012: Pope Benedict XVI kisses a child in St. Peter’s square at the Vatican. Born as Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on 16 April 1927, a native of Bavaria, the Pope has both German and Vatican citizenship. AFP
  • 15 April 2008: Pope Benedict XVI waves from the window of his plane as he lands in the US. Benedict XVI is known to be conservative in his teaching and has been a prolific defender of the traditional Catholic doctrine and values. AFP
  • 25 March 2012: Pope Benedict XVI wears a typical Mexican hat as he arrives in Silao, Mexico. His critics have often accused him of turning back the clock on reforms by nearly half a century and hurting dialogue with other religions. AFP
  • 27 January 2013: Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leads the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s square at the Vatican. His announcement will now set off speculation about his likely successor. Reuters