Pope Benedict XVI Officially Resigns from Duties: The day is finally here – Pope Benedict XVI has stepped down from his duties formally. The Pope officially resigned today, stating that from now on he will only be a pilgrim living his last journey on Earth.
Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican in a motorcade and then on a helicopter which took him to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo, close to Rome. The church bells chimed throughout the city of Vatican as the Pope boarded the helicopter and left the city. He reached his destination almost fifteen minutes later.
He will officially be the former Pope at 19:00 GMT. This is the first time in almost 600 years that a Pope has resigned from his duties intentionally.
The population of approximately 1.2 billion Roman Catholics is left leaderless after the Pope stepped down. For the meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI’s deputy Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will be in charge, until the new Pope is elected next month. Meeting his cardinals earlier, the Pope had declared that he vows unconditional obedience and reverence to the succeeding Pope.
When he was seeing the top officials for the last time, the Pope was greeted by applause in the Curia, which is the administrative body of the Holy See. Upon his arrival at the public square in Castel Gandolfo he was greeted by a cheering crowd, which he blessed with kinds words. Pope Benedict thanked the crowd for their sincere friendship.
In his departing tweet the Pope thanked the entire community for their love and support – he prayed that the community always experiences the joy of putting Christ as the centre of their lives. Born as Joseph Ratzinger, the German pontiff will now be known as Benedict XVI or precisely ‘pope emeritus’.
Pope Benedict XVI had resigned due to old age – he said that he was unable to continue his responsibilities due to the weakness caused by his increasing age.