VIDEO: Lightning strikes Vatican hours after Pope Benedict announces resignation

Pope Benedict has shocked a billion Roman Catholics around the world, and his closest advisers, by announcing that he will resign at the end of this month. Within hours of Pope Benedict announcing his resignation,lightning struck St Peter’s Basilica. The Pope, who is 85 years old, has been the head of the Church since 2005ADG

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Benedict XVI yesterday became the first pope to step down in almost 600 years.

The previous papal resignation was by Pope Gregory XII, who quit in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants.

Pope Benedict XVI on Monday said he plans on resigning the papal office on February 28. The following is the full text of Benedict’s declaration:

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 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. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

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