Pope 'too ill to continue' | Bangkok Post: news

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Pope resigning on Feb 28, conclave in March

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UPDATE VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI said Monday he lacks the strength to fulfill his duties and on Feb 28 will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. 

The announcement sets the stage for a conclave in March to elect a new leader for world's one billion Catholics.

The 85-year-old pope announced the bombshell in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, surprising even his closest collaborators, even though Benedict had made clear in the past he would step down if he became too old or infirm to do the job.

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