Humble and thankful, Benedict moving out of spotlight
Holy Father will spend some time at summer home before joining monastery.
Benedict XVI addressed parish priests around the world, speaking from Rome on Thursday. The address was given in public and will likely be one of his last public appearances. Benedict has said that once he retires, he will be "hidden from the world."
Benedict will retire without fanfare on Feb. 28.
Benedict celebrated his last public Mass on Ash Wednesday. The 85-year-old pontiff plans to resign at the end of the month, citing infirmity. He will be the second such pope to do so, and the first one in 600 years.
It has recently became known that Benedict hurt himself while on a trip to Mexico, reportedly falling and hitting his head on a sink. The Vatican insists that this injury did not cause any significant or long-term harm.
Benedict has been both humble and thankful in all his appearances. Following his final public Mass, Benedict received thunderous applause, which he cut short, saying "let us pray."
The Vatican has also announced that there will be no ceremony marking his departure.
Once Benedict steps down, he is expected to go to the Papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, where he will spend a short period, probably for rest. Following that, he will return to the Vatican, not as Benedict the XVI but once again as Cardinal Ratzinger.
He has said he will remain cloistered, living a life of prayer and contemplation within the closed Vatican monastery. Benedict has said he will not interfere in the affairs of the next pope, and will remain "hidden from the world."
The conclave of Cardinals is expected to meet sometime on or just after March 15. They will then select the next pope. There are several candidates discussed as favorite, including front-runners from Africa, Latin America, and Europe. A Canadian cardinal has also been mentioned as a favorite.
The cardinals must choose by two-thirds plus one vote who Benedict's successor will be. That individual will likely hold the office for the rest of his life, as most popes traditionally do.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Benedict XVI, Holy Father, resignation, College of Cardinals, monastery, retirement
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