Emotional finale of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate
Endless joy and cheering by tens of thousands of faithfull as the outgoing Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his farewell in his last Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s square in Rome. With his retirement from Office, he is complying with Gods wish, said the head of the Roman Catholic Church.The people celebrated the Pope during the Angelus prayer as in the week before with “Viva il papa”-calls and long applause. Benedict’s voice faltered again and again during his speech, and he was interrupted by cheers of the faithful. “Thank you, in prayer we are always close to each other”, Benedict called out. He thanked the pilgrims for their love and sympathy in this “special moment for me and the Church”.
“Continue to serve the Church”
God had called him to devote himself more to meditation and prayer, which did not mean that he was leaving the church, said the 85-year-old. “On the contrary, if God is calling me, it is because I can continue to serve the church with the same dedication and love as before, but in a more appropriate way for my age and my strength,” he said in his speech. With a view to the daily Gospel of the transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor, the Pope said that God had called him to “climb that mountain”.
The interest in the penultimate public appearance of the Pope was enormous. According to the Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi about 100,000 faithful had come to receive the papal blessing. Already well before, a large crowd waited with banners in the square, where the prayer was shown on four large screens. More than 1,000 police officers and 200 volunteers ensured security. Several streets around the Vatican were closed to traffic, and additional bus services to the Vatican had been arranged.
Pray as a source of strength
Benedict took advantage of the great forum help to underscore the importance of prayer. Pray do not mean to isolate itself from the world, but to draw strength to better serve the people, so Benedict. “The Christian life means to climb the mountain to encounter God again and again, and then enriched by the love and the strength that he gives us, descend and serve our brothers and sisters with the same love of God,” said the Pope.
An enormous pilgrim rush is also expected for the Pope’s last general audience on Wednesday. On this day, people from all over the world are expected to want to say goodbye to Benedict. A day later, on Thursday, at exactly 8:00 p.m., the pontificate of Benedict XVI. ends. He had unexpectedly announced his resignation on February 11, and justified the step with health problems. It is the first time in over 600 years for a pope to resign.
Rumors about “Poison-Dossier”
In the meanwhile the Vatican has blown the whistle on Saturday, on false reports and rumors that could inflounce the conclave, at which the next pope is elected. The Vatican criticized the media, after speculations about stolen documents, sex and corruption. But assumptions, a secret dossier, containing explosive charges against high-ranking Church officials, gathered steam even within high-level Catolic circles. Australian Cardinal George Pell demanded clarification about the dossier by the Vatican this weekend.