Reports from NBC NEWS
Updated at 6:19 a.m. ET: ROME -- Pope Benedict XVI is to resign on February 28 because of his failing health, a Vatican spokesman said Monday.
Greg Burke, senior communication adviser to the Holy See, said the 85-year-old will step down on February 28.
The pope announced his decision during an address, in Latin, at the "Concistory for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto", a relatively small event held early this morning.
Joseph Ratzinger became the 265th pope in April 2005.