(NBC NEWS) Updated at 10:40 a.m. ET: ROME — Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday he will step aside as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics on Feb. 28, saying he no longer has the strength to carry out his duties.

Speaking in Latin, the 85-year-old announced his decision during an address at the “Concistory for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto”, a small event held early in the morning.

The decision makes him the first pope to resign since the Middle Ages.

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