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
News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Monday is the deadline to register for Pennsylvania…

If residents want to vote in the May primary, which includes a vote for a new City Council member, today is the deadline to register.

National

Miss America thinks school should reconsider discipline of…

A Pa. student was suspended for asking Miss America to prom.

Local

Aria Health Torresdale workers caught selling prescription drugs

Two Aria Health at Torresdale employees were fired amid accusations they sold prescription drugs out of the Northeast Philadelphia campus.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Ray Emery steps up in Flyers’ Game 2…

Sure, he allowed two goals in the Rangers’ first four shots Sunday afternoon, but it’s about how you start, not how you finish.

NHL

Flyers come from behind, even series with Rangers

The Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit to get a much-needed win at Madison Square Garden Sunday.

MLB

Phillies get set for four against the Dodgers

The Phillies will face tough starting pitching out west against the Dodgers this week.

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.