Pope Benedict XVI announced on 11 February 2013 that he would resign at the end of the month. He reasoned that he was too infirm to carry on. He is the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision set the stage for the election of a new Pope before the end of March 2013.
Pope Benedict XVI is 85 years old. He had become the Pope in 2005. The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who took this step in 1415 to put an end to the Great Western Split among competing papal claimants.