White smoke rising from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican indicating the election of German Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI
Media playback is unsupported on your device

Pope Benedict XVI resignation: Who could be successor?

Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85.

The unexpected development - the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years - surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even his closest aides.

The Vatican says it expects a new Pope to be elected before Easter.

The BBC's Matthew Amroliwala asked Catherine Pepinster, editor of Catholic newspaper The Tablet, where the Catholic Church goes next.

  • 11 Feb 2013