Pope Benedict XVI Resigns His Position, Citing Frailty And Age As Reason

“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.”

Pope Benedict XVI Resigns His Position, Citing Frailty And Age As Reason

Pope Benedict is to resign at the end of the month. The Twitter-loving head of the Catholic Church, who last year called on all Catholics to embrace social media, released a statement to Vatican Radio citing that, due to his age, he was not capable of carrying out his papal duties in a manner befitting the office. “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 recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.”

This is the first time since 1415 that a Pope has voluntarily stepped down from the post. The news is already trending on Twitter, with #Pope at No. 1, and #elpapadimite and #ratzinger in the next two spots. Benedict XVI’s last tweet under the @Pontifex handle was yesterday–his first was on December 12–but has yet to comment on his decision via the micro-blogging network. Others, however, were not so slow.

Here’s a spoof account from Number10Cat, resident feline at the British Prime Minister’s residence.

The one-liner begat another one-liner, this time from a spoof Pope’s account.

His Holiness will be signing off for the last time at 8 p.m. CET, on February 28, 2013, after which the Vatican will appoint a Conclave, the council which elects a new Bishop of Rome, one of the Pontiff’s many titles.

[Image via Twitter user Helen Lewis]

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My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.