He “appeared wan and spoke very softly.”
His homily was interrupted repeatedly by applause and he received a standing ovation.
A banner was strung at the back of the room reading “Grazie Santita” (Thank you Your Holiness.)
Today, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his last public mass as pope.
“As you know, I have decided to renounce the ministry that the Lord gave to me on April 19, 2005,” he said. “I did this in full liberty for the good of the Church, after having prayed at length and examined my conscience before God, well aware of the gravity of this act … I was also well aware that I was no longer able to fulfill the Petrine ministry with that strength that it demands …”
“ … I have felt, almost physically, your prayers in these days which are not easy for me, the strength which the love of the Church and your prayers brings to me …
“… What sustains and illuminates me is the certainty that the Church belongs to Christ, whose care and guidance will never be lacking …
“… Continue to pray for me and for the future Pope; the Lord will guide us!”