Feb 11 2013 By Cheryl Mullin
POPE Benedict XVI is to resign after declaring that he is too old to carry on as head of the billion-strong Roman Catholic Church.
In a surprise announcement, the Vatican said the 85-year-old Pontiff would leave on February 28 after nearly eight years in office.
A statement said the Pope, who has appeared increasingly frail, was unable to continue in office due to his age and diminishing strength and the papacy will remain vacant until a successor is elected.
Follow our live blog as this amazing story unfolds.