Benedict Gives Final Message As Pope - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Benedict Gives Final Message As Pope

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Pope Benedict XVI became officially retired Thursday at 8pm local time in Vatican City (7pm GMT).

The 85-year-old pope flew by helicopter to the papal retreat where he told tearful well-wishers that he is beginning the final stage of his life as "simply a pilgrim."

Benedict will become "emeritus pope" in retirement and will continue to wear the white cassock associated with the papacy. He is the first pontiff in 600 years to resign.

Benedict arrived at Castel Gandolfo after an emotional sendoff from the Vatican, where his closest aide wept by his side as he bade farewell to Vatican officials gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, Swiss Guards standing by at attention.

Bells tolled as he left the Vatican by helicopter and did a fly-by around St. Peter's Square. They tolled anew as he arrived in Castel Gandolfo, where the central piazza was jammed with people eager to capture the historic moment.

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