Pope Benedict XVI renounces the ministry of the Bishop of Rome

Pope Benedict XVI stated on Monday, February 11, that, due to his failing health, he plans to resign from the papal office at the end of February.
The 85-year-old pontiff announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of cardinals. The following is an English translation of his text sent out by the Vatican.

“Dear Brothers,

“After having repeatedly examined my 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 the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.”
This will be only the third time in history that a pope has voluntarily resigned. The last time was in 1415, when Pope Gregory XII stepped down. The previous time was in 1294, when Celestine V quit after only five months.
The Vatican said that until a successor is chosen, there is no pontiff. The selection process is expected to take place in mid-March. Three Canadian cardinals will be part of the conclave to pick a new pontiff: Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Vatican's office for bishops, Cardinal Thomas Collins, archbishop of Toronto, and Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, retired archbishop of Montreal.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, former archbishop of Quebec, is already being mentioned in media reports as being on the long list of possible successors to Benedict XVI.