Full text of Pope Benedict XVI's declaration of resignation
February 11th, 2013
06:51 AM ET

Full text of Pope Benedict XVI's declaration of resignation

By CNN Staff

(CNN) - Pope Benedict XVI on Monday said he plans on resigning the papal office on February 28. The following is the full text of Benedict's declaration:

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 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 bark 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.

Read more: Pope Benedict XVI – Fast Facts

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.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Mohammad A Dar

    Is that Pope doing Mr Sparks famous hand gesture?

    February 11, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Yeah right

      No, he's yelling "BINGO!" again. He kept doing that during prayers, so they fired him.

      February 11, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • End Religion

      Pope: "Excuse me, I think I have Bingo."
      Announcer: "Sir, we haven't started the game yet."
      Pope: "I was talking about the altar boy under the table."

      February 11, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
  2. Byrd

    EMERGENCY DECREE: Activation of 11th and 12th Commandments

    The 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not resign as Pope.
    The 12th Commandment: Thou shalt not bite the head off of the papal symbiote.

    And that should about do it.

    February 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Byrd

      Authorization: CtA (curiously handy initials, don't you think...)

      February 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Byrd

      And the 13th and last Commandment: Thou shalt not grind the head of the now disembodied papal symbiote to dust beneath the papal walking stick. – you know, that really big, heavy one with the holy hand grenade on top.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  3. mzh

    "so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff"

    So Catholics worships Mother Marry as well?

    February 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • -.-

      Is that what it SAYS?? No. They honor her as the Mother of Jesus. What's your problem with THAT? They pray to her. "Hail Mary, full of grace..." Ever heard of that??

      February 11, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  4. mzh

    Why it is being addressed to only 'Brothers' and not both 'Brothers and Sisters'?

    February 11, 2013 at 11:59 am |
  5. highplainsparson

    The reasons stated in this letter strike me as genuine, coming from him.

    February 11, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  6. Obliterate the RCC today and avoid the rush!

    Blackmail within a bloated international criminal organization? Say it isn't so!

    February 11, 2013 at 8:42 am |
  7. Chick-a-dee

    May God bless Benedict XVI and grant him many more years.

    February 11, 2013 at 8:05 am |
    • sam stone

      May he be in the arms of Jesus in a fortnight

      February 11, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • mzh

      May our Lord The Almighty guide us all to the straight path the path will lead us all to heavens... amin

      February 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • ..

      May you learn how to spell 'amen', mzh.

      February 12, 2013 at 2:46 am |
  8. Reality

    Too late and not nearly enough to save a fast-sinking ship !!!

    February 11, 2013 at 7:57 am |
  9. Byrd

    Interesting choice, Bene, announcing your retirement of the first day of the Year of the Snake.

    Here's one for you: So this snake says to Eve, "Take, eat...", and Adam takes a bite too.
    Just as Bene and his birdcage each Sunday begin communion with the same, "Take, eat..."

    Glad to see you go, RatMan, but this Son of Adam neither eats nor drinks of your foul concoctions, or listens to your purposely twisted words.


    February 11, 2013 at 7:50 am |
    • Simon Says

      Simon Says you're an infidel, non believing, bottom feeding idiot

      February 11, 2013 at 8:09 am |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Pray without ceasing
    Prayer changes things

    February 11, 2013 at 7:30 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      February 11, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • mzh

      It does but the initiative should be coming from me... it will not work if i just pray and do not go to work... money will not come to my bank account to pay my bills... or the drug seller sales the drug and he also prays to have more drug addicted otherwise he will not make money...

      here is what... human being created with a give of 'Free Will' given by our Lord... which allows us to either good thing or evil thing... there are lots of good ppl in our society but they are poor and at the same time there are lot of evil ppl they are rich and having luxerious lives... but everyone will live this lifetime given before we came to this earth from our mom's womb... no metter what we do, we will live our live either by being rich or poor, doing bad or good...

      the important thing is to chose who is our Lord that we want to submit ourselves... to The Creator or a creation... this is also completely upon us... we chose to submit ourselvse (worship) to a human (dead or alive) or any objects... OR we submit to the Lord who has created the entire universe and have not daitieis besides Him...

      everyone of us will held accountable on that day... that how did we use our 'free will'...

      we ask The Lord Almighty to have mercy on us on that day...

      February 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • ..

      "… or the drug seller sales the drug and he also prays to have more drug addicted otherwise he will not make money…"
      WHAT??? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!! SURELY a worthy prayer.....ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!! (Wipes tear away) ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

      February 12, 2013 at 2:51 am |
    • ..

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....."… or the drug seller sales the drug and he also prays to have more drug addicted otherwise he will not make money…" ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! Yeah, bet God jumps right on that one.....ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.....pushes that right up to the top-o-the-list...OMG, too funny!!!

      February 12, 2013 at 2:55 am |
  11. Priest

    Wish him well.

    February 11, 2013 at 7:28 am |
  12. lionlylamb


    February 11, 2013 at 7:25 am |
  13. lionlylamb


    February 11, 2013 at 7:12 am |
  14. Science

    Depleting carbon aye. Part of the life cycle.

    February 11, 2013 at 7:00 am |
  15. Adolf

    Auf Wiedersehen!

    February 11, 2013 at 6:58 am |
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.