Pope reassures people he is not 'abandoning the Church' in final blessing
Pontiff set to retire from post this Thursday
Pope Benedict XVI told parishioners that he wasn’t abandoning the Church by retiring to spend his final years in prayer, during his last Sunday blessing in the Vatican.
The 85-year-old pontiff will step down on Thursday evening, the first pope to do so in 600 years.
Tens of thousands of people packed into St. Peter’s Square for his final address, the New York Times reports.
Read More: Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigns after sexual allegations by four priests
Police estimated some 100,000 people turned out to hear Benedict’s final weekly address.
He told the crowd that God was calling him to dedicate himself “even more to prayer and meditation,” which he will do in a secluded monastery.
“But this doesn’t mean abandoning the Church,” he said. “On the contrary, if God asks me, this is because I can continue to serve it (the Church) with the same dedication and the same love which I have tried to do so until now, but in a way more suitable to my age and to my strength.”
Benedict will make his final public appearance on Wednesday in front of a general audience in n St Peter’s Square.
No date has been set yet for the conclave of Cardinals, who will vote in secret to elect Benedict’s successor.
Meanwhile during a Mass in St Agnes's Church in Crumlin, Dublin, to mark the arrival of St John Bosco's relic, the Papal Nuncio to Ireland paid tribute to the Pope.
"I certainly have a degree of sadness in seeing Pope Benedict go into retirement because I have the greatest respect for him,’ he told the Irish Independent.
- The New York Times questions Ireland’s highly-p
- Gay wedding cakes latest target of anti-gay...
- Bah! Humbug! The ten worst things about Christm
- Spanish judge slams Ryanair’s sexist air...
- Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent...
- No Irish prosecution for man named as world’s...
- Offensive NFL sign outside restaurant just...
- Ireland crowned “Top Tourist Destination”...
- Irish radio presenter suspended after anti-Isra
- How the Irish celebrate Christmas has changed...
To be fair, most American words and slang came FROM Ireland to begin with. I plan to visit Ireland and learn as much as possible. Can't wait.New Northern Ireland flag is not an option, loyalists tell Richard Haass
I think we have enough flags in Ireland as it is.Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent says Immigrant Council
@Chuck: My point is that immigrants who are willing to work for low wages are not to be demonised but rather be pitied and/or admired. It's the greedyHow Christmas was in my father’s time
molliebawn, many many kids in rural Ireland used to share shoes or only wore them for special occasions so as not to ruin them or wear them out too fa