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Pope quitting 'for good of Church'

'Thought about it for long time', he says

11 February, 12:18
Pope quitting 'for good of Church' (ANSA) - Vatican City, February 11 - Pope Benedict XVI said Monday he was quitting at the end of February "for the good of the Church".

The 85-year-old pope said he had been "feeling the weight of the pontificate" and had been "thinking for a long time" about the almost unprecedented decision, according to Vatican sources.

Benedict had never given any hint he might step down, a move only taken by one of his predecessors, Celestine V, in 1294.

Last year the pope started using a cane on occasions and recently he appeared to have trouble reading the text of an address he delivered in Rome.