The choice was a "decision of great importance" for the church, the statement added.
In an announcement that stunned Catholics around the world, Pope Benedict XVI revealed he will be stepping down from his position, citing failing strength. NBC's Michelle Kosinski reports on his eight years as pope.German news agency dpa quoted the pontiff's brother, Georg Ratzinger, as saying his brother was increasingly struggling to walk and had been contemplating stepping aside for several months. "His age is weighing on him," he reportedly added.
There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner, The Associated Press reported:
Contenders to be his successor include Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the archbishop of Vienna, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican's office for bishops.Read: Pope Benedict XVI to step aside