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AP PHOTOS: A look back at Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday - 2/12/2013, 7:30am  ET

FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008, file photo, Pope Benedict XVI holds the pastoral staff as he celebrates Christmas midnight Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Declaring that he lacks the strength to do his job, Benedict announced Monday Feb. 11, 2013, he will resign Feb. 28 _ becoming the first pontiff to step down in 600 years. His decision sets the stage for a mid-March conclave to elect a new leader for a Roman Catholic Church in deep turmoil. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

The Associated Press
Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he will resign on Feb. 28. The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals. "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. Benedict, the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years, emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope -- the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide -- requires "both strength of mind and body." He says he is simply too infirm to carry on.

Here is a look at Pope Benedict XVI's career in a chronological photo package.


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