Milan

Monti 'shocked' by pope's 'unexpected' resignation

'No inkling', premier says

Monti 'shocked' by pope's 'unexpected' resignation

Milan, February 11 - Outgoing Premier Mario Monti said Monday he was shocked by Pope Benedict XVI's unexpected decision to resign at the end of the month. "I am very shocked by this unexpected news," Monti said. Monti said he had no "signs or hints" of the impending decision during recent meetings. The pope said because of his advanced age and diminishing strength he would leave the papacy at 19:00 GMT on February 28. Monti, a practising Catholic with ties to the Vatican, met Benedict several times during his 13-month stint as premier which ended in December.

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