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Pope Benedict XVI greets a crowd gathered for his arrival in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Feb. 28. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

During his last public appearance as pope, Benedict XVI said a few words to the crowds assembled outside Castel Gandolfo, where he is expected to reside for the next several months before moving to a monastery in the Vatican.

From his balcony, Pope Benedict said:

Thank you, thank you from my heart. I am happy to be here with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your friendship that does me so much good, thank you for your friendship, for caring.

You know that today is different from others… as of eight pm I will no longer be the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. I will simply be a pilgrim who is beginning the last part of his pilgrimage on earth. 

But with my heart, my love, my prayer, with all my inner strength, I will work for the common good and the good of the Church and all humanity.

And I feel greatly supported by your affection. Let us move forward together with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world.

I will now impart upon you all my Apostolic Blessing. Thank you and good night. Thank you all!

 

 
About the Author
Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.
 
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