BROOKLYN - News of Pope Benedict XVI's planned resignation at the end of the month surprised many, but for some, the news was expected.

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio says the pope has said he would resign if the job became physically difficult.

"He had two years ago mentioned that he would resign if he felt he could not carry out the responsibilities of the papacy," says DiMarzio.

The pope, who is 85, will be the first pontiff to resign in about 600 years. Because the pope is resigning, the Vatican will not have to hold a traditional mourning period that usually follows after a pope dies before holding a conclave to elect a new pontiff.