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Pope Benedict's final address

Last updated on: February 27, 2013 17:38 IST

Pope Benedict's final address

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A general view of a packed Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, where Pope Benedict XVI held his last general audience on Wednesday.

The weekly event, which would normally be held in a vast auditorium in winter, had been moved outdoors to St Peter's Square so more people could attend the event.

Pope Benedict XVI is the first pontiff in some six centuries to step down from the post.        

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Photographs: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
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Pope Benedict XVI had said that he is stepping down as God had told him to devote himself to prayer.

During Sunday prayers in St Peter's Square, the Pope also assured people that he would not 'abandon' the Church.

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Photographs: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
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Pope Benedict's final address

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Pope Benedict XVI rides around St Peter's Square to hold his last general audience at the Vatican.

After he retires on Friday, he will be known as the Roman Pontiff Emeritus.  He will also continue to be known by his papal title of Benedict XVI, rather than reverting to Joseph Ratzinger.

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Photographs: Max Rossi/Reuters
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He will wear his distinctive white cassock without any cape or trimmings.

He will surrender his gold ring of office, known as the fisherman's ring, and his personal seal will be destroyed in the same way as it is when a pope dies.

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Photographs: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
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In his last papal address, delivered in Italian, Pope Benedict said, "God guided me and has been close to me. I would like everyone to renew their faith in God". 

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Photographs: Max Rossi/Reuters
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"I have experienced moments of intense joy and difficult moments as well," said Pope Benedict.

He added, "My heart is open to the entire world".

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Photographs: Max Rossi/Reuters
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The 85-year-old leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics has said he is stepping down because he no longer has the strength of mind and body to carry on.

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Photographs: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters
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Pope Benedict has said he will live 'hidden from the world', but Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi has said he could provide 'spiritual guidance' to his successor.

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