House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, reportedly told his aides and a group of Republicans Friday morning that he will resign at the end of next month, according to the New York Times. Boehner has served as speaker, which puts him after the vice president in the line of succession should something happen to the president, since taking over from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in 2011.

Boehner, a devout Catholic, made waves on the Internet Thursday when he cried near Pope Francis as the pontiff addressed a joint meeting of Congress. The speaker has spent years working to get a pope to address American lawmakers. In a private meeting with Francis Thursday, Boehner discussed the significance of his green tie.

Francis said “green is the color of hope,” and Boehner responded, “We’ll need a lot of hope today,” Politico reported.

Boehner's announcement came Friday morning as he met with members of his caucus on how to avert an impending government shutdown, which will happen next Thursday, Oct. 1, if Congress fails to pass a budget. “Obviously the pope had a big impact on him," Rep. Richard Nugent, R-Fla., told the Washington Post. "That’s about the most selfless act I’ve ever seen, willing to step down to save this country and save this nation." 

Boehner has tried to find a solution to keep the government running, but Republicans have remained stubborn on their demands to defund the healthcare nonprofit Planned Parenthood. His resignation is likely connected to this and other friction within the party, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., told Bloomberg. "He does not want to become the issue," Mica said.

A December 2014 survey found that 43 percent of Republicans said they viewed Boehner in a positive light, while 52 percent said they thought he would fight for their issues. But 60 percent said they preferred someone new to take over as speaker of the House.

Many observers predict that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will take over for Boehner when he steps down at the end of October.