Video: Pope Benedict XVI officially resigns

1 March 2013 02:16 am - 8     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Pope Benedict XVI has officially resigned, saying that he now "will simply be a pilgrim" starting his last journey on earth.

The pontiff, aged 85, was earlier flown by helicopter from the Vatican to his retreat at Castel Gandolfo, near Rome.

The college of cardinals, headed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, is now in charge of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics until a new pope is elected.

Benedict vowed "unconditional obedience and reverence" to his successor.

He stepped down after nearly eight years in office - the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.
Earlier on Thursday, bells of St Peter's rang across the Vatican as Benedict boarded the helicopter for a short flight to Castel Gandolfo.

Before that, the pontiff was greeted for the last time by top officials in the Curia - the administrative body that runs the Holy See.

Benedict then appeared at a window overlooking the public square in Castel Gandolfo to bless a cheering crowd.

"Thank you very much for your friendship," Benedict said.

"I will simply be a pilgrim who is starting the last phase of his pilgrimage on this earth.

"Let's go forward with God for the good of the Church and the world."

Some in the crowd were in tears listening to what could be Benedict's final public words.
"What a joy to see him, but how sad to think it is for the last time," local resident Giuseppina was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

In a final posting before his @Pontifex account was suspended and all its entries archived, Benedict tweeted: "Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives."

The Vatican now enters the Sede Vacante - or period of transition between two pontificates.

Benedict's successor must focus on reforming the Vatican bureaucracy which has often been overly hesitant to react to the various crises which have arisen during Benedict's papacy, the BBC's David Willey reports from the Vatican.
Beset by scandals

On Thursday morning, the Pope received the cardinals at the Vatican's Clementine Hall, warmly embracing Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who passed on best wishes on behalf of those gathered.

"Among you there is also the future pope to whom I promise my unconditional obedience and reverence," the pontiff said.

"The Church is a living being," he added, but it "also remains always the same".

In his public farewell speech on Wednesday, Benedict hinted at Vatican infighting.
His decision to resign has been openly criticised by Australia's top Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, who questioned his leadership skills.

The Church has been beset by scandals over sexual abuse by priests and leaked confidential documents revealing internal corruption and feuding.

An estimated 150,000 people packed into St Peter's Square on Wednesday to hear Benedict speak in his last address there. (BBC)
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  Comments - 8

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  • Dharshan Friday, 01 March 2013 02:52 PM

    May God bless you Pope Benedict the XVI.... thank you for the contribution you have given to the Catholic Church....

    MagodisThuma Friday, 01 March 2013 05:00 AM

    Ultimately God's will is done !

    MagodisThuma Friday, 01 March 2013 05:05 AM

    I feel like crying !

    MagodisThuma Friday, 01 March 2013 05:15 AM

    God is still examining qualifications & experiences of candidates...God will be done !

    MagodisThuma Friday, 01 March 2013 05:35 AM

    When he was appointed as Pope I said Thank God !
    You tell me... when he resign's..what should I say...definitely not ...Thank God !

    ANTON Saturday, 02 March 2013 02:56 AM

    DON'T WORRY BE HAPPY

    Ahmad Friday, 01 March 2013 06:56 AM

    Good example for all leaders whether they are religious or political.

    Lishantha Friday, 01 March 2013 12:00 AM

    may the good lord bless you always his holiness via DM Android App


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