The last time a pope resigned was in 1415, when Pope Gregory XII stepped down to end a civil war within in the church. Now, Pope Benedict XVI is following suit, announcing he will step down Feb. 28 because of "advanced age," reports CNN.com.
The pope, who is 85, took on the highest role in the Catholic Church in 2005. His time in the role "has been marked with a series of scandals and controversies, including hundreds of new allegations of sexual abuse by priests," the story notes.
He has led a church that’s declining in Europe but is gaining members in Africa and Latin America.
"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 recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me," the pope said to the cardinals, according to the Vatican.
Pope Benedict XVI