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Papal Aides, Media, Everyone But God Caught Off Guard By Pope Benedict XVI Resignation

The news of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation caught even his closest aides off guard leaving the world media scrambling to confirm the news. The Pope announced in a meeting of Vatican Cardinals today, “After having repeatedly examining my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.” The pope will resign Feb. 28.

CNN went with the news at 6am as “Early Start” went on the air. John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin reported the news confirming with CNN sources in Vatican City. HLN’s Robin Meade reported the news at 6:01 as did “Fox & Friends,” citing “a wire service.”

MSNBC was hesitant to report the news at first but then at 6:04 Joe Scarborough reported the Reuters flash: “We weren’t sure whether we were going to go with [this] or not because Reuters has gotten some information wrong before on the pope. Mika, why don’t you confirm.”

“Pope Benedict is going to be stepping down as head of the Catholic church,” said Brzezinski.

The broadcast networks all produced special reports in the 6am hour. NBC’s Claudio Lavagna and CBS’s Allen Pizzey reported from their networks’ Rome bureaus by the 7am start of the morning shows. “Good Morning America” did not have a correspondent in Italy, but spoke to an American priest in Rome.

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