You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

World

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.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week