According to reports made by the Vatican, the new Pope should be in place before the Easter. The resignation is the first in more than 600 years and as such, it surprised governments, the Popes close aides and Vatican Watchers. There was nothing to stop Pope Benedict or any of his other predecessors from resigning. This is according to the governing code which sets the Pope free to resign though it is a rare occurrence.
While speaking to the press, his brother said that Benedict had been not to take transatlantic trips by his doctor and for months, he had been toying around with the idea of resigning. He further said that when he started getting into his 80’s second half, he started feeling that age was taking the better of him and he could not function or carry out his duties effectively.