Pope Benedict said in a historic announcement he no longer had the mental and physical strength to run the Roman Catholic Church and would become the first pontiff in more than 600 years to resign, leaving his inner circle “incredulous”. Images of Pope Benedict from his papacy.
Pope Benedict XVI posts his first tweet using an iPad tablet after his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI's Hall at the Vatican on 12 December, 2012. Giampiero Sposito/Reuters
In this 28 October, 2011 file photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI receives a delegation of religious leaders from all over the world he met at a peace meeting in Assisi. AP
In this March 25, 2012 file photo, Pope Benedict XVI waves from the Pope-mobile wearing a Mexican sombrero as he arrives to give a Mass in Bicentennial Park near Silao, Mexico. Eduardo Verdugo/AP
In this Wednesday, 28 March, 2012 file photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano Pope Benedict XVI meets with Fidel Castro in Havana. AP
In this Tuesday, 12 May, 2009 file photo, Pope Benedict XVI places a note in the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City. David Silverman/AP
In this 21 December, 2005 file photo, Pope Benedict XVI, sporting a fur-trimmed hat, waves to pilgrims upon his arrival in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for his weekly general audience. The red hat with white fur trimming, known in Italian as the "camauro," was popular among pontiffs in the 17th century. Alessandra Tarantino/AP
In this 1979 file photo, Pope John Paul II, left, poses with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, who was named on Nov. 25, 1981, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of the International Theological Commission, the former Holy Office. Ratzinger was elected Pope, April 19, 2005 and chose Benedict XVI as his papal name. AP