Pope Benedict XVI made the shocking announcement on Monday ( Rome ) that he would resign effective February 28.

Here are the details and video of that announcement.

In his announcement, the 85 year old Pontiff  said he believes his strength had deteriorated over recent months "to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me." A Vatican spokesman said the pontiff would step down from 1900 GMT on February 28, leaving the office vacant until a successor is chosen.

Pope Benedict XVI will be the first pope in 600 years to leave office before passing away.  Only seven other popes have ever resigned in the history of the Catholic Church, though historical records from the earliest years of the church are very sketchy.  Benedict took office in 2005 after the passing of Pope John Paul II.