Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI held his last General Audience in St. Peter's Square.
The full text of his address, from Vatican Information Services, can be read here.
Video, from the Catholic World Report:
Pope Benedict's greeting to English-speaking pilgrims at his General Audience [Wednesday], the last of his pontificate:
Pope Benedict leads the assembled crowd in the recitation of the Our Father in Latin, and then gives his final blessing:
From Catholic News Service:
On his last full day as pope, Pope Benedict XVI delivered an unusually personal and emotional farewell address, thanking the faithful around the world for their support and assuring them that he would remain in their service even in retirement.The mainstream media coverage of Pope Benedict's resignation has been terrible.
"I will continue to accompany the path of the church with prayer and reflection, with that dedication to the Lord and to his bride that I have tried to live every day till now and that I want to live always," the pope told a crowd in St. Peter's Square Feb. 27, the eve of his resignation.
Under a clear blue sky with temperatures in the low 40s, the pope arrived for his last public audience shortly after 10:30 a.m., standing and waving for almost 15 minutes as his white popemobile made a circuit through the square. Cheering pilgrims waved national flags and banners with slogans such as "always with the pope" and "you will never be alone."
The crowd spilled over into the adjacent Via della Conciliazione, which had been closed to motorized traffic, and the Vatican estimated turnout at 150,000.
Abandoning his usual practice of giving a catechetical talk on a devotional text or theme at public audiences, the pope spoke about his time as pope and his historic decision to resign. He looked tired but composed as he read his speech, and he smiled at the frequent interruptions by applause.
Pope Benedict recalled his almost eight-year pontificate as a time of "joy and light, but also difficult moments."
"The Lord has given us so many days of sun and light breeze, days in which the catch of fish has been abundant," he said, likening himself to St. Peter on the Sea of Galilee.
"There have also been moments in which the waters were turbulent and the wind contrary, as throughout the history of the church, and the Lord seemed to be asleep," he said. "But I have always known that the Lord is in that boat and that the boat of the church is not mine, it is not ours, but it is his and he does not let it sink."
The pope, who announced Feb. 11 that he would step down because his "strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," told the crowd that he had made his decision "in full consciousness of its gravity and also novelty, but with profound serenity of soul."
Although he would be retiring to a life of prayer, meditation and study in a monastery inside Vatican City, he said, he would continue to serve and sacrifice for the church.
"Whoever assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy," he said. "He belongs always and totally to all, to the whole church.
"My decision to renounce the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this," he said. "I am not returning to private life, a life of trips, meetings, receptions, conferences, etc. I am not abandoning the cross, but remain in a new way beside the crucified Lord. I no longer carry the power of office for the government of the church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, within St. Peter's precincts."
An example of the slurs spewed by NBC News is detailed here by the Media Research Center.
Beyond taking swipes at Pope Benedict, CNN has bashed the Catholic Church.
Only an hour after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the papacy, and not ten minutes into Monday's Starting Point, CNN's Soledad O'Brien hosted the director of an anti-Catholic documentary who has called Pope Benedict a "criminal" and a "deeply flawed human being."This sort of rot is typical.
Director Alex Gibney was O'Brien's first guest on her show. His new film on the clerical sex abuse scandal has been criticized as distorted and misleading and "an anti-Catholic broadside masquerading as a documentary." O'Brien praised it as "riveting, absolutely riveting," however, and let him criticize Pope Benedict.
I find myself having to just ignore so much served up by the media. It's not pleasant being perpetually disgusted. I have to tune it out.
From the New York Times:
Benedict, 85, resigns on Thursday, exiting the papacy at 8 p.m. In the morning, he meets the cardinals who will elect his successor sometime next month. At 5 p.m. a helicopter will fly him to his summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, where he is expected to wave to well-wishers and utter a few words. By 8:01 p.m., he will have the title “pope emeritus.”"Academy Awards-like passage"? Oh, come on!
...Stirring the waters of the Benedict years were a contagion of child sexual-abuse scandals involving priests; missteps that provoked the anger of some Jews, Muslims and Anglicans; and the leaking of damaging internal Vatican documents. More recently, Italian news reports have said an investigation by three cardinals into the leaked documents has detailed corruption in the Vatican ranks.
Benedict, the first pope in nearly 600 years to step down voluntarily, repeated the explanation he proffered in making the announcement on Feb. 11. “In these last months, I felt that my strength was diminished,” he said. He asked God to help him make the decision “not for my good, but for the good of the church.”
He said he took the step fully aware of its seriousness and novelty, “but with a profound serenity of spirit.”
In an Academy Awards-like passage, Benedict also gave thanks to a list of people: his “brother cardinals”; the members of the Vatican Curia, or administrative body; the Holy See’s diplomatic corps; the bishops; and the “ordinary people” who had sent their good wishes.
They don't get it. I don't expect them to understand that one billion or more people like me love and respect Pope Benedict. They suffer from severe intolerance. They are pitiable.
More on the final day of Pope Benedict's papacy:
On the morning of 28 February, the last day of his pontificate, the Pope will meet with, again in the Clementine Hall, the cardinals what are present in Rome. At 4:55pm, in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Vatican Apostolic Palace and before a detachment of the Swiss Guards, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State of His Holiness, and and other members of that dicastery will bid him farewell. The Pope's helicopter will land at Castel Gandolfo at 5:15pm, where he will be received by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, respectively president and secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State along with Bishop Marcello Semeraro of the Diocese of Albano, and civil authorities of the locality.
Benedict XVI will appear at the balcony of the Castel Gandolfo Apostolic Palace to greet those who have gathered in the square to wish him well. The Sede Vacante will begin at 8:00pm and the Swiss Guards assigned to him at Castel Gandolfo will take their leave, as their corps is dedicated to the safe-guarding of the Roman Pontiff. Instead, the Vatican Gendarmerie will take over the Pope emeritus' safety detail.
Fr. Lombardi also explained that Bendict XVI will no longer use the “Fisherman's Ring”, which will be destroyed along with the lead seal of the pontificate. This task falls to the cardinal camerlengo and his assistants. Likewise, the Press Office director announced that the Pope will no longer wear the red papal shoes.
Regarding the beginning of the Congregations of Cardinals, the dean of the College of Cardinals will send a letter to all the cardinals on 1 March, calling them to Rome. “It is likely, therefore,” Fr. Lombardi added, “that the congregations will begin starting next week.”
Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square. (VATICAN CITY/AP Photo)