|Benedict XVI meets with President of the Foreign Press Club Antonio Pelayo|
A thunderous applause and cheering erupted as Pope Benedict XVI walked into the Paul VI audience hall in the Vatican. The clapping lasted well over a minute.
Pope Benedict XVI, dressed in his new white vestments, smiled happily as he sat on his throne for his first audience with members of the media.
Over 1,000 reporters, journalists and cameramen from media organizations all over the world crowded into the room, along with relatives and a group of pilgrims.
Pope Benedict addressed those present in four different languages. He told the media that, thanks to their work, for weeks the attention of the entire world has been focused on Saint Peter's Basilica and the Vatican.
"I know how hard you have worked, far away from your homes and families, for long hours and in sometimes difficult conditions," said Benedict XVI. "I am aware of the skill and dedication with which you have accomplished your demanding task."
The pope thanked the media and said he will continue to be open with the press in the same way as his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.
Pope Benedict took no questions during his meeting, which lasted approximately 15 minutes. The new pope will be installed Sunday at a ceremony in Saint Peter's Square, expected to draw a crowd of half a million people.