Sound Off for February 11th: What are your thoughts on the Pope's resignation?
Declaring that he lacks the strength to do his job, Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday 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 Catholic Church in deep turmoil.
The 85-year-old pope dropped the bombshell in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, surprising even his closest collaborators even though he had made clear previously that he would step down if he became too old or infirm to carry on.
Benedict called his choice "a decision of great importance for the life of the church."
The pope's announcement that he will resign has taken many people by surprise, but experts on aging say perhaps it shouldn't.
They say that as people live longer, the physical and mental challenges of old age are catching up with more of those in positions of power.
Many are choosing to step down instead of continuing in jobs traditionally held until death.
How do you feel about the Pope's decision?
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