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The Boston Globe


Pope Benedict stuns Catholic world with resignation

Citing frailty, Benedict XVI announces his departure after 8 years marred by controversy; cardinals are expected to elect a successor next month

Pope Benedict XVI, whose reign was hobbled by the ­clergy sexual abuse crisis, as well as internal Vatican scandals and external controversies, announced Monday that he would relinquish the post he has held for barely eight years.

The surprise announcement, which the pontiff attributed to increasing physical and mental frailty, instantly transformed the study of the Vatican’s internal workings from an esoteric obsession of a few hundred journalists, ­Catholic bloggers, and prelates into a global preoccupation. Benedict is the first pope to ­resign in nearly 600 years.

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