News / Europe

    Pope Gives Final Audience

    Al Pessin
    Pope Benedict XVI bid his public farewell in front of tens of thousands of people on St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, the day before his resignation takes effect. The first pope to resign in nearly 600 years said goodbye.

    The faithful and the curious pressed forward for a look and a wave, as the 85-year-old pope rode through the square in his open vehicle for the final time. Later, he told the crowd, and a worldwide television audience, he has been through some “not easy” moments.

    Apparently referring to his decision to resign, Pope Benedict said “to love the Church also means having the courage to take difficult decisions.” He urged all Catholics to always put the good of the Church before their own desires.

    • Pope Benedict greets the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, April 19, 2005.
    • Pope Benedict blesses a baby as he rides around St. Peter's Square to hold his last general audience at the Vatican Feb. 27, 2013.
    • Pope Benedict appears on a giant screen in a packed St. Peter's Square at the Vatican during his last general audience, February 27, 2013.
    • Pope Benedict arrives to attend a meeting with seminarians at the Romano Maggiore seminary in Rome, February 8, 2013.
    • Pope Benedict waves as he arrives to lead the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 18, 2012.
    • Pope Benedict wears a sombrero, a traditional Mexican hat, while being driven through the crowd before officiating a mass in Silao, Mexico, March 25, 2012.
    • Pope Benedict holds his cross as he leads a solemn mass in Zagreb, Croatia, June 5, 2011.
    • Pope Benedict visits the Ardeatine Caves Memorial in Rome, Italy, March 27, 2011.
    • Pope Benedict leaves after an audience with Vatican-accredited diplomats at the Vatican, January 10, 2011.
    • Pope Benedict visits the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem's Old City, May 12, 2009.
    • Pope Benedict waves to the crowd gathered in Saint Peter's square during his weekly Angelus blessing at the Vatican, May 16, 2010.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama meet with Pope Benedict at the Vatican, July 10, 2009.


    The pope has struggled to deal with the scandal of sexual abuse by priests, the leak of thousands of embarrassing documents and a decline of the faith in Europe - all issues his successor will have to address.

    One person at the audience with a particular interest in the Church's future was Rev. Thomas Rosica, the director of a Catholic television network in Canada.

    "Pope John Paul II taught us the profound lesson of his papacy, especially in the final years, about suffering and dying. Pope Benedict has taught us another lesson. He's taught us about surrender. We don't cling to power and authority and office and privilege, when our energies are no longer there," said Rosica.

    Other Catholics in the large crowd also were sympathetic to the pope's decision, and were joining the speculation about whether his successor might for the first time come from outside Europe.

    Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
    x
    Click to Enlarge
    Click to Enlarge
    Rosica said the cardinals who will elect the next pope are aware of all that, but are not as focused on the headlines as many observers are.

    “Thank God the cardinals do not think in the way the newspapers would like them to think. They know what is going on, probably much more than we do. They will be hearing reports - the life of the Church in different places, what are the urgent needs - and out of all that a profile emerges. And I am fully confident that with the help of the Holy Spirit they know what they are doing,” he said.

    Many of the cardinals who will elect Benedict's successor already are in Rome. Their decision is expected around mid-March, in time for the new pope to preside over Holy Week and Easter.

    Meanwhile, from Thursday evening the Catholic Church will have a living former pope for the first time in nearly 600 years. Pope Benedict said he will continue to be part of the Church in what he called a “new way.” He asked the faithful to remember him, and to warm applause he concluded with a simple “thank you.”

    Interactive:  Possible Pope Candidates
    Loading...

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Michael from: USA
    February 27, 2013 9:08 AM
    The Pope Benedict was born to be a scholar and he really never left his love for books, now he is returning to quiet scholarship again
    In Response

    by: Plain Mirror Intl from: Plain Planet -Africa
    February 27, 2013 1:50 PM
    The Pope has systematically ran away from the ravaging bull. More revelations about what the papacy is are on the way, more evil to be revealed. The days of God's reconning at hand. What is papacy? vicar of the son of God. King of heaven, earth and purgatory! what a blasphemy in Catholism and its papacy. What is recorded in the book of revelation of the christain holy bible must definitely come into more limelight to the world. The antichrist with the world! Papacy... . Sorry catholism!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.