TODAY | February 12, 2013
>>> we're learning more this morning about the vatican's plans to elect a new pope in the wake of pope benedict 's surprise decision to resign at the end of this month. richard engel is in vatican city . richard, good morning.
>> reporter: good morning, matt. the reaction here in st. peter's square to what the pope has done has been overwhelming positive, with people calling it an act of humility and courage, to make way for a younger man. 24 hours later, there's still shock in the vatican city .
>> shock, disappointed, sad.
>> reporter: this morning, roman catholics , tourists and even some church officials wondered if this can be a moment to revitalize the church, after pope benedict xvi 's unexpected decision to step down.
>> personally, i didn't agree with a lot of the things that he believed and preached.
>> i hope this will bring change to the church.
>> reporter: in making his announcement, the 85-year-old pontiff, who has been looking frail, asked for forgiveness. i have to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me, he told a gathering of cardinals in latin, saying his advanced age forced the decision. moments later these pictures circulated the web. more than 700 years ago when a pope abdicated the throne. they are reluctant to leave so they don't send mixed messages or contradict the new pope. the pope's brother spoke in the last few hours.
>> perhaps the new pope will ask for his advice but you notice the aging process impacts body and soul . the younger person is needed to deal with today's problems.
>> although there's no evidence to suggest a motive, other than old age, the pope's unusual departure has left some wonderin wondering.
>> only know what we've been told at the moment.
>> reporter: pope benedict will eventually move to a monastery, praying and reflecting. his age and the weight of scandals, especially revelations of sexual abuse by priests may have gotten to the scholarly pontiff. bets are already being placed on who will lead the more than 1 billion roman catholics when the pope steps down at the end of the month. the pope will not take place in the conclave to choose his successor. vatican officials hope a new pope will be in place by easter, matt.
>> richard engel in vatican city . thank you very much. father robert barron is director of the monline in chicago. good morning.