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The Boston Globe

World

Pope to resign, stunning Catholic world

Pope Benedict XVI says he’s too infirm; conclave in March

VATICAN CITY — Citing advanced years and infirmity, but showing characteristic tough-mindedness and unpredictability, Pope Benedict XVI shocked Roman Catholics on Monday by saying that he would resign Feb. 28, becoming the first pope to do so in six centuries.

Speaking in Latin to a small gathering of cardinals at the Vatican on Monday morning, Benedict said that after examining his 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 leading the world’s 1 billion Roman Catholics.

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