MSNBC is reporting that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
The 85-year-old announced his decision Monday during an address at the "Concistory for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto", a small event held early in the morning.
The Pontiff said, "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."
The decision makes Pope Benedict XVI the first pope to resign since the Middle Ages. After serving eight years as pope, he will leave his post on Feb. 28.