Pope Benedict XVI gives final address
VATICAN CITY—With just one day left in the papacy, Pope Benedict XVI is held his final general audience Wednesday at the Vatican.
He arrived in St. Peter’s Square in the “pope-mobile” shortly before his last address.
More than 50,000 tickets were handed out for the general audience.
However, officials estimated nearly 150,000 people actually attended the address.
He thanked the crowd for their support and prayers and asked for their support to be given to the new pope.
Pope Benedict XVI said, “The decision I have made after much prayer is the root of the serene trust in God’s will and the deep love of Christ’s church. I will continue to accompany the church with my prayers and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new pope.”
On Thursday morning, Pope Benedict XVI will meet with the cardinals before stepping down.
He will then ride a helicopter to his summer home in Rome.
His papacy will end about 8 p.m. central time.
Experts say he will likely keep the name “Benedict” and will also be referred to as Pope Emeritus.
However, he will have to give up his distinctive red shoes.
Raymond Arroyo, Global Catholic TV Network, said, “It is prerogative of the pope to wear that alone. No one else in the church may wear those red shoes. So when Benedict is no longer the pope, he has to give up the shoes.”
He will also not be protected by the Swiss guards.
Instead, his home will be secured by Vatican police protection.
Cardinals will begin the process of electing a new pope as early as Monday.
Arroyo said, “The two-thirds majority, first man to get the two-thirds majority is the next pontiff.”
A Vatican spokesperson says a decision could come within a matter of days.