Pope Benedict asks for support after decision to resign

Pope Benedict XVI arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. Credit: Reuters
Pope Benedict XVI arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican.
Credit: Reuters

Pope Benedict, in his first public comments since he announced that he would become the first pontiff in centuries to resign, on Wednesday said he was fully aware of the gravity of his decision but confident that it would not hurt the Church.

“Continue to pray for me, for the Church and for the future pope,” he said in unscripted remarks at the start of his weekly general audience, one of his last public appearances before he resigns on February 28.

The pope, who looked and sounded strong, was interrupted several times by thunderous applause from the some 8,000 faithful and tourists who packed the vast audience hall.

In brief, prepared remarks that mirrored those he read to stunned cardinals when he announced his decision on Monday, the pope said God would continue to guide the Church because it was much more than its earthly leader.

“I took this decision in full freedom for the good of the Church after praying for a long time and examining by conscience before God,” he said.

He said he was, “well aware of the gravity of such an act but at the same time aware of not being able to carry out my (papal) ministry with the physical and spiritual force that it requires”.

Benedict said he was sustained by the “certainty that the Church belongs to Christ, who will never stop guiding it and caring for it”.

He said that “he felt almost physically” the affection and kindness he had received since he announced the decision.

Later on Wednesday, an Ash Wednesday Mass that was originally scheduled to have taken place in a small church in Rome, has been moved to St Peter’s Basilica so more people can attend.

Unless the Vatican changes the pope’s schedule, it will be his last public Mass.

Meanwhile, the conclave to decide the successor to Pope Benedict will start as early as March 15, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

The conclave, when cardinals gather to elect a new pope, will start between 15 and 20 days from when the papal seat is vacated on February 28, Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told a news conference.

Pope Benedict stunned the Church on Monday when he announced the first papal abdication in centuries. Lombardi said Catholics should not be disoriented by Benedict’s decision.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD: Man denied money punches 65-year-old at Bronx…

A 65-year-old man was punched and shoved at a D train station in the Bronx last week when he denied another man money, police said.

Local

New York Governor Cuomo's office intervened in corruption…

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office meddled with a commission he created to root out corruption in state politics, pushing back whenever it focused on groups tied to Cuomo, the…

International

South Korea ferry fugitive found dead with bags…

By Ju-min Park and Sohee KimSUNCHEON/INCHEON South Korea (Reuters) - South Korea's most wanted man, whose heavily decomposed body was found in an orchard last…

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shaprio's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

Movies

Interview: 'Happy Christmas' director Joe Swanberg on making…

"Happy Christmas" filmmaker Joe Swanberg talks about the collaborative nature of his films with name actors and the difficulties of getting indies seen.

Gossip

Is Justin Bieber now a Calvin Klein underwear…

A source told the Daily Mail that Justin Bieber "has shot for Calvin Klein" and that they "hope the results will be released later this year." While probably…

Gossip

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

NFL

3 storylines to watch as Jets open training…

Jets head coach Rex Ryan might be in for an even tougher job in 2014 after arguably his best coaching job last season.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

Education

Elementary school students like their healthy school lunches…

  When the federal government first rolled out its healthier school meal guidelines in 2012, elementary schoolers weren't happy. Much was written about how America's…

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…