Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will resign due to age and declining health in an early morning address on Monday, February 11.
When he was chosen to be Pope in 2005 by his fellow Cardinals, he was already 78. Benedict became the oldest person to assume the post since Pope Clement XII in the 18th century.
There were questions about his age and health even when he took office. However, Benedict was relatively more conservative and advocated a return to fundamental Christian values that may have helped win him the post at a time when a creeping secularization was taking hold in many countries.