After eight years as Pope, Benedict XVI steps down.

A day of history in the making in Rome as the first Pope since Gregory XII in 1415 resigns marking the end of an era. Seán O'Rourke reports from Rome where he is joined by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier.

The 28th of February of 2013 is going to be a day marked in history - the first Pope, as we know, in six centuries to resign.

A helicopter will take Pope Benedict away to Castel Gandolfo where the formal resignation will take place at 7 pm Irish time. His resignation, having spent eight years as head of the Catholic Church, will be signalled by the departure of the Pontifical Swiss Guards. 

Cardinal Napier will meet the Pope later today when he will express his personal thanks and appreciation for all that he has done as well as thanks for the service that he has done the church in general.  

In the coming days, Cardinal Napier will attend a Papal Conclave with other cardinals to elect a new pope.
For Cardinal Napier, what the church needs now is "New Evangelisation", which involves sharing experiences of how Jesus Christ has influenced lives. He feels that the time is ripe for a pope with a different type of life experience.

This episode of 'Morning Ireland' was broadcast on 28 February 2013. The reporter is Seán O'Rourke.