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Pope Benedict XVI
flickr- Sergey Gabdurakhmanov
Pope Benedict XVI holds a final audience on St. Peter's Square one day prior to his official resignation as head of the Roman Catholic Church.
His resignation announcement on February 11 was surprising as this is the first time that a Pope steps down from his position since the year 1415. Benedict XVI, otherwise known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was appointed to the position in 2005 and served eight years in what is now one of the shortest papal terms in modern history.
According to Pope Benedict's official statement, his resignation is due to old age and the ensuing difficulties in carrying out his papal duties.
The leaders of the church are expected to elect a new pontiff in March.