The world was shocked on Monday to hear about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Citing age, the 85 year old Pope announced that he would be leaving office on February 28th. He is the first pope since the Middle Ages to resign from office, the last being Pope Gregory XII in 1415 to end the Western Schism.
Benedict has gone through some of the toughest times in recent memory for the Catholic church. Benedict’s reign was plagued by scandals of child-abuse and cover ups, with the most recent being the stealing and publishing of confidential documents by the Pope’s butler.
His departure will mark the beginning of conclave, which is scheduled to begin in March. The next Pope will take office “before Easter,” said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman.