Pope thanks the faithful
Two days after his historic resignation announcement, the Pope showed up publicly on Wednesday again. He thanked the faithful for prayers and great sympathy. “I have felt love for me the in these days”, said the outgoing head of the church in a short speech before the General Audience in Rome.
Benedict reiterated the reasons which led to his decision. The decision was made in “full freedom” for the good of the Church, Benedict stressed before thousands of faithful in the Nervi Hall. He had become aware that he could no longer continue papacy with the necessary power.
“Continue to pray for the Pope and the Church”
He had decided to resign, “long after I prayed and examined my conscience before God. I am aware of the gravity of this process, but at the same time I realize that I am no longer in a position to exercise the Petrine ministry with the power that demands it”, the Pope said.
He is encourage by the certainty that the Church belongs to Christ, who never lacked guidance and care. “I thank everyone for the love and prayer with which they have been with me. Continue to pray for the Pope and for the Church! I felt the power of prayer in those for me physically challenging days, “the Pope said.
Cheers and applause for Benedict
On Monday, the Pope who is office since 2005, had declared his resignation for February 28. The 85-year-old Benedict slowly walked to his chair the audience hall, close to the Basilica, with great jubilation by thousands of faithful followers on Wednesday morning. As Benedict welcomed the visitors, there was loud applause. The faithful waved handkerchiefs with the white and yellow colors of the Vatican. He began the audience with a smile.
Benedict also addressed the pilgrims from his native Germany, and thanked them for their visit. His remarks, which also focussed on the beginning of Lent, were repeatedly interrupted and accompanied by applause. The outgoing Pope spread his arms in greeting of the faithful, but remained seated.
Jeopardies, “that soften the faith”
Benedict XVI. stressed the need for constant reversion and renewal of faith. Christians today face various challenges in the personal and public life. The Pope mentioned, among other things, the risk of Christian marriage and the protection of human life, as well as trends in a secularized world that soften the faith. In his greetings to the German-speaking pilgrims and visitors, the Pope recalled the need for inner renewal to which Lent offers a great opportunity. “During this Lent we want to go the path of renewal and overcome the temptation to look only on ourselves,” said the Pope.
Ash Wednesday liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica
In the late afternoon, at the beginning of Lent, the 85-year-old wants to celebrate the liturgy for Ash Wednesday, in the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. A large crowd of faithful, cardinals, bishops and tourists is expected. Therefore, the celebration was especially moved from the church of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill, to the much larger St. Peter’s Basilica.
Even after his resignation announcement Benedict continues to carry on his appointments. According to Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi this included meetings with bishops and foreign guests of state in the coming days. On the penultimate day of his term, February 27 2013, the Pope will hold his last general audience in St. Peter’s Square. According to the Vatican, there are not planned any other special events at the end of his pontificate.