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Tue 12 Feb 2013 12:27 PM

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Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation

Pope cites advanced age and deterioration of health and will stand down on February 28

Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation
Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful as he leaves St. Peter's Basilica at the end of the Christmas night mass on December 24, 2012 in Vatican City, Vatican. (Getty Images)
Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation
Pope Benedict XVI attends a mass at Verona Stadium during a one day visit in the town of Romeo and Juliet, on October 19, 2006 in Verona, Italy. (Getty Images)
Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation
Pope Benedict XVI arrives riding in the pope mobile at Freiburg fair grounds for celebrating a vigil with young people on September 24, 2011 in Freiburg, Germany. The Pope is in Freiburg on the third of a four-day visit to Germany, and he will conclude his trip with an open air Sunday mass tomorrow near Freiburg. (Getty Images)
Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation
Pope Benedict XVI praises a performance of Beethoven's Ninth symphony during a concert at La Scala Theater on June 1, 2012 in Milan, Italy. Pope Benedict XVI is on a three day trip to Milan to attend various events focusing on the institution of the family. The World meeting of families was instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1994 to promote the value of families. (Getty Images)
Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation
Pope Benedict XVI plays piano at his summer residence on July 17, 2006 in Les Combes, Val D'Aosta, Italy. (Getty Images)
Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation
Pope Benedict XVI kisses the altar before addressing the faithful at the Basilica of the Black Madonna in Jasna Gora Monastery on 26 May, 2006, Czestochowa. Poland. The Pope is visiting The Jasna Gora Shrine, the home of The Black Madonna which represents an image of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus, during his tour of Poland following the footsteps of the late Pope Jean Paul II. (Getty Images)
Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation
Pope Benedict XVI leads a Catholic mass for 70,000 visitors at Olympiastadion stadium on September 22, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. Pope Benedict, who is German, is in Berlin on the first of a four-day visit to Germany. (Getty Images)
Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation
Pope Benedict XVI (L) and Israeli President Shimon Peres, tour the garden of the Presidential Residence May 11, 2009 in Jerusalem, Israel. The pontiff is on the fourth day of his eight-day Holy Land pilgrimage. (Getty Images)
Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation
Pope Benedict XVI poses with children in the garden of his holiday residence for the Sunday Angelus prayer July 23, 2006 in Les Combes, Italy. The pontiff designated the Sunday prayer to the Middle East crisis will remain in Les Combes until July 28. (Getty Images)
Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation
Pope Benedict XVI blesses faithful during his weekly general audience on May 23, 2012 at St Peter's square at the Vatican. (AFP/Getty Images)