Pope Benedict XVI clicks on a tablet to send his first twitter message on Wednesday at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican.(Photo: Vincenzo Pinto, AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY (WUSA) -- At Mass at the National Basilica on Monday, the Pope's resignation was on the minds of many people. The Vatican confirmed Monday morning that Pope Benedict XVI plans to resign on Feb. 28. He told others that to be Pope "strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me."
INTERACTIVE: Moments In Pope Benedict XVI's Papacy (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/Interactives/Pope_Benedict.htm)
The Pope called a meeting of the cardinals to tell them about his decision. He addressed them in Latin, but the statement has been translated to English:
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
The Associated Press reports that the Pope's brother, George Ratzinger, said doctors had told the pope not take any more trans-Atlantic trips. He had already cut down on traveling abroad.
John Garvey, president of Catholic University of America says the Pope's visit 5 years ago left a lasting mark on campus. Garvey admitted the now 85-year-old pontiff looked frail, even then, yet he remains a giant figure.
The resignation allows the Vatican to hold a conclave before Easter to elect a new pope, according to the Associated Press, and Pope Benedict XVI could influence who is chosen as his successor.
EXPERTS: Top 5 Picks For The Next Pope (www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/02/11/vatican-next-pope/1908839/)
Pope Benedict XVI tweeted the following on Sunday: "We must trust in the mighty power of God's mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new."
Stay tuned to W*USA 9 and WUSA9.com for updates on this developing story.