Pope Benedict XVI attends a ceremony to mark the 900th birthday of the Knights of Malta, one of the most peculiar organizations in the world at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on February 9, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI announced during a mass Monday, February 11, 2013, that he plans to step down on February 28.
Pope Benedict XVI attends a ceremony to mark the 900th birthday of the Knights of Malta, one of the most peculiar organizations in the world at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on February 9, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI announced during a mass Monday, February 11, 2013, that he plans to step down on February 28. Abaca Press/MCT
Pope Benedict XVI attends a ceremony to mark the 900th birthday of the Knights of Malta, one of the most peculiar organizations in the world at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on February 9, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI announced during a mass Monday, February 11, 2013, that he plans to step down on February 28. Abaca Press/MCT

By exiting papacy still alive, Pope Benedict follows a precedent not seen for 598 years

February 11, 2013 6:39 PM