WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — In a stunning move, House Speaker John Boehner informed Republicans on Friday that he would step down at the end of October, giving up his coveted leadership post and his seat in Congress in the face of hardline conservative opposition.

The 13-term Ohio Republican shocked his GOP caucus early Friday morning when he informed them of his decision in a closed-door session. It came one day after the high point of Boehner’s congressional career, a historic speech by Pope Francis to Congress at Boehner’s request.

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Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said Boehner “just does not want to become the issue. Some people have tried to make him the issue both in Congress and outside.”

Congressman Brendan Boyle (PA-D-13) issued the following statement on the resignation announcement:

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“I was surprised by today’s news that Speaker of the House John Boehner will be retiring next month. Putting party politics aside, I want to thank the Speaker for his decades of service to our country. The first time I met Speaker Boehner was at my inauguration in January of this year when he swore me into office. He was gracious and kind to my entire family that morning. The second child of twelve, who grew up in a two bedroom house in Cincinnati, he truly is an example of the American Dream. As a fellow Catholic I can understand why he would choose to announce his resignation after the incredibly humbling and inspiring meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis on Thursday. I wish the Speaker all of the best in his future endeavors.”

Conservatives have demanded that any legislation to keep the government operating past Wednesday’s midnight deadline strip Planned Parenthood of his funds, a move rejected by the more pragmatic lawmakers. The dispute had threatened Boehner’s speakership and roiled the GOP caucus.

Boehner took over the speakership in January 2011.

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