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Pope Benedict blesses the Roman clergy at the end of his address (AP)

Benedict XVI says media distortion of the Second Vatican Council caused ‘so much misery’

Pope Benedict XVI during the meeting with cardinals in which he made his announcement (Photo: CNS)

Religious leaders express their surprise – including even the Vatican spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi

The Pope makes his announcement at a meeting of Vatican cardinals (Photo: PA)

Pope will step down for health reasons on February 28

Cardinal Roger Mahony (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

Cardinal Mahony is disciplined after files show failure to address abuse allegations

MPs will debate the Bill at its second reading next Tuesday (Photo: PA)

Here we publish the bishops’ conference briefing in full

London's Docklands financial district (Photo: PA)

English bishops back call by lobby group for ‘unjust debts’ to be cancelled

Bishop Hlib Borys Sviatoslav Lonchyna (CNS)

Pope Benedict has raised the Ukranian Apostolic Exarchate to the new rank of Eparchy

Archbishop Smith has urged priests to do all they can to oppose the marriage Bill (Photo: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

In accompanying letter Archbishop Smith urges priests to ‘do all you can’ to oppose Bill

Mgr Keith Newton celebrated mass at the church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory(Photo: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

Letter to Telegraph says legislation would erode ability of faithful to ‘participate fully’ in public life

The bishops, including Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton, centre, celebrate Mass at Amman in Jordan (Photo: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

Bishops from the US and Europe issue statement at the end of their visit to the Holy Land