New pope will probably be elected by end of March - Vatican

ROME Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:25pm GMT

ROME (Reuters) - A new pope will probably be elected by the end of March, a Vatican spokesman said on Monday, after Pope Benedict left his aides "incredulous" with his announcement that he would resign because he was too weak to fulfil the duties of his office.

Benedict said he would step down on February 28 and would not take part in the conclave to elect a new pope, Father Federico Lombardi told reporters at the Vatican.

After resigning, the former pope will move to a summer residence near Rome. After that, he will live in a former monastery within Vatican territory, Lombardi said.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella and James Mackenzie. Writing by Steve Scherer; editing by Barry Moody)