Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Pope gives final Sunday blessing

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during his last Angelus noon prayer (AP)
Faithful from Trento, northern Italy, hold up signs in Italian reading "Grazie Padre" (Thank you Father) and "Grazie Santo Padre ci mancherai" (Thank you Holy Father we will miss you) prior to Pope Benedict XVI's last Angelus noon prayer, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. The last chance for a Sunday blessing from Pope Benedict XVI from his studio window is drawing a crowd to St. Peter's Square. Benedict, 85, steps down on Thursday, the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. He'll hold his last public audience in the square on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Benedict XVI has given his final Sunday blessing from his studio window to the cheers of tens of thousands of people in St Peter's Square, Rome.

Benedict said that even though he is retiring on Thursday from the papacy, the first pope in 600 years to do so, he is "not abandoning the church".

Instead he said he will serve the church with the same dedication he has until now, but will do so in a way "more suitable to my age and my strength".

Benedict, 85, will spend his last years in prayer, meditation and seclusion in a monastery on Vatican City's grounds.

He has one more public appearance, at his weekly audience on Wednesday in the square.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz