The Vatican announced this morning that the 85-year-old Pope Benedict will resign on February 28th, because he doesn’t feel he has the strength to keep up with his duties.  He was quoted in the Herald Scotland as saying he’s personally noticed his strength has been declining recently, "to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me".

The Vatican said the Pope’s announcement was a surprise to them, and while there are several contenders for a new Pope, no front-runners as of yet.    It is very uncommon for popes to resign.  Pope Gregory XII was the last pope to resign in 1415.

Pope Benedict was elected pontiff after the death of Pope John Paul II, in 2005.