Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict resigned Monday, the first living pope to leave the papal throne in nearly 600 years. Benedict was elected in 2005, following the death of Pope John Paul II. He was more conservative than his predecessor. Critics said he tried to roll back changes that were well underway, from the expanding role of nuns to the appearance of the altar in the front of Catholic churches.
Benedict XVI is 86-years-old. He said he no longer has the mental and physical strength to carry on.
Catholic cardinals are expected to convene in Rome at the end of the month to elect a successor.
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