Photo Gallery: Benedict XVI's Path to Pope and Back
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Photo Gallery: Benedict XVI's Path to Pope and Back

Foto: TONY GENTILE/ Reuters

Benedict Bows Out Burdens of Aging Lead Pope to Resign

In a surprise development, the Vatican confirmed Monday that Pope Benedict XVI will step down later this month. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed her "utmost respect" for his decision and described the Catholic leader as "one of the most important religious thinkers of our time."
dsl -- with wires