(NECN: John Moroney, Boston) - Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he's resigning, becoming the first pontiff in almost 600 years to step down.
The 85-year-old Pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, saying that he no longer has the strength to fulfill his duties.
"After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, 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," he said.
"I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only be words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering."
Reaction is coming in from around the world to his announcement.
Pope Benedict's eight-year tenure is not something that pleases all Catholics. Some are disappointed or even angry that this Pope did not do more to deal with the clergy's sexual abuse crisis or some of the issues that have long divided the faithful -- things like the role of women in the church.
Conservative members of the church are happy with Pope Benedict's stewardship, as he moved away from the more liberal reforms of the Second Vatican Council. They are now worried about the future of the church under a new pope.
The Archdiocese of Boston represents nearly two million Catholics.
In Massachusetts, many Catholics are expressing support for the Pope's resignation.
NECN reporter John Moroney has more on the story.
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