Benedict XVI has officially resigned as Pope, saying he will now “simply be a pilgrim who is starting the last phase of his pilgrimage on this earth.” He vowed “unconditional obedience and reverence” to his successor and in his last Tweet he called on people to “always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.” The college of cardinals will now begin the process of electing a new Pope – with Benedict’s successor expected to be in place before Easter. Follow the story here.
Pope Benedict has left the Vatican for the last time in office after offering “unconditional obedience and reverence” to his successor. The bells of St Peter’s rang as the Pope was taken in his helicopter to his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. He officially resigns his position at 8pm.
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The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict’s final public appearance will be at Mass in St Peter’s Square on 27 February. A new Pontiff is expected to be elected before Easter. The Pope’s announcement shocked catholics around the world and has led to intense speculation about who will be elected his successor. The parish of Sacred Heart is praying for the Holy Father as he prepares for a period of prayer and reflection. Follow the story here