Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday morning that he will resign, effective Feb. 28, according to the Associated Press. The pope cited health concerns as the reason for the descision.
While a staff member at Kennesaw's Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church said she was surprised by the announcement, she referred questions to the Archdiocese of Atlanta, which is scheduled to hold a press conference at 1 p.m. today to address questions and concerns.
CNN reported that a spokesman for the pope did not give a reason for the decision, announced during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, but according to the AP, the 85-year-old pontiff cited his "advanced age and diminishing strength."
The decision makes Benedict the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, according to the AP report.
"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," he told the cardinals according to the full text of the Pope's announcement posted on The Huffington Post.
Born Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI was chosen in 2005 to succeed the late Pope John Paul II.
The Vatican could hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, according to the AP.
We want to know how North Cobb's Catholic community feels about this surprise announcement. What are your thoughts, Acworth and Kennesaw?