The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI will resign on February 28, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years.
Joseph Aloysius Rat zinger's papacy began in 2005. This is reportedly just the second time a head of the Catholic Church has stepped down.
The 85-year-old pope says he is stepping down because the rigors of the job are too much to handle. "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," Benedict told the cardinals. "I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering."
The leader of 1.3 million Roman Catholics in southeastern Michigan says he was surprised by the announcement that Pope Benedict XVI plans to resign.
Archbishop Allen Vigneron (VIG'-neh-ron) said in a statement Monday that surprise was followed by "sadness, a sense of grief at losing his fatherly care for all us." The leader of the Archdiocese of Detroit invited Catholics to pray for the pope and "guide him through what lies ahead."
Vigneron said "we look to the future with confidence, that the Lord who has given us this great pope and loving father, will give us a new shepherd of equal merit."
Back in May of 2012, there were rumors that Benedict may retire because of the arrest of his butler on suspicion of leaking controversial documents.
There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner.
WNEM will continue to follow this story and will provide updates as new information comes in.
Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation) and Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 5:01 PM EDT2013-05-22 21:01:34 GMT
WNEM TV5 has learned the Michigan State Police bomb squad has been called to a pawn shop in Bay City. The Bay County Sheriff's department said someone was hoping to pawn the hand grenade but when staffMore >
WNEM TV5 has learned the Michigan State Police bomb squad has been called to a pawn shop in Bay City to check out a hand grenade.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 1:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 17:21:07 GMT
Police in Saginaw responded to the scene of a shooting overnight on the city's west side. The shooting happened just before 3 a.m. Wednesday off of North Woodbridge Street, between Hayes and Throop Streets.More >
Police in Saginaw responded to the scene of a shooting overnight on the city's west side and the victim has been identified.More >
Police say a 1-year-old boy has died after being found unresponsive in a water-filled bathtub in Flint. The Flint Journal reports police are treating the child's death Monday night as suspicious. TheMore >
Police say a 1-year-old boy has died after being found unresponsive in a water-filled bathtub in Flint and now his parents have been charged in connection to his death.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 5:04 PM EDT2013-05-22 21:04:20 GMT
A two-car crash between Bridgeport and Frankenmuth has resulted in the closure of Junction Road. The crash happened around 1 p.m. on Wednesday on Junction, between Reimer and Dixie Highway. BridgeportMore >
A two-car crash between Bridgeport and Frankenmuth resulted in the deaths of two people on Junction Road Wednesday afternoon.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 1:01 PM EDT2013-05-22 17:01:00 GMT
Authorities say a 37-year-old man is dead after being hit by a pickup truck while stopped along the side of a mid-Michigan roadway to check on another motorist. The Isabella County sheriff's departmentMore >
Authorities say a 37-year-old man is dead after being hit by a pickup truck while stopped along the side of a mid-Michigan roadway to check on another motorist.More >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information on obituaries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends in Mid-Michigan. Death notices are displayed during theMore >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends who have lost loved ones.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:16:48 GMT
MOORE, OK - The Oklahoma County Sheriff's office tweeted a photo of a frightened, muddy dog Monday after the deadly EF-5 tornado ripped through the town.The comment accompanying the photo said, "scared,More >
A heartbreaking photo of a little dog guarding the body of his owner, who was killed in the Moore, OK, tornado, is going viral.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:21:12 GMT
(RNN) - British officials are saying one man is dead and two others were injured in a possible terrorist attack in London on Wednesday.According to BBC News, eyewitnesses said man was attacked in a streetMore >
One man is dead after two men attacked him in broad daylight with knives and meat cleavers. More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 8:07 AM EDT2013-05-22 12:07:29 GMT
A man killed in a motorcycle crash over the weekend has been identified. The Saginaw News reports that 51-year-old Paul Neuman was operating the bike when it crashed on Tittabawassee Road near HackettMore >
A man killed in a motorcycle crash during the weekend has been identified.More >