Pope quitting 'for good of Church'
'Thought about it for long time', he says11 February, 12:18
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.