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POPE BENEDICT XVI ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION.Pope Benedict made a shock announcement of his imminent resignation at the end of February 2013..The 85-year-old (Cardinal Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger) who was elected as Head of the Catholic Church in April 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul ll, gave the reason for his resignation as being too old..The announcement - the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years(Pope Gregory XII was the last in 1415), surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even his closest aides..The Vatican expects to have a new Pope elected by Palm Sunday - 24th March 2013.Picture Shows: Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.Mandatory Credit Photo: ©Sestini/NEWSPIX INTERNATIONAL..**ALL FEES PAYABLE TO: "NEWSPIX INTERNATIONAL"**..IMMEDIATE CONFIRMATION OF USAGE REQUIRED:.Newspix International, 31 Chinnery Hill, Bishop's Stortford, ENGLAND CM23 3PS.Tel:+441279 324672  ; Fax: +441279656877.Mobile:  07775681153.e-mail: