February 28, 2013
Pope Benedict XVI bids farewell to the papacy today, becoming the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.
He has served as pope for 8 years.
He will be remembered by many Catholics as an intellectual pope who guided the church during numerous scandals.
The pope spoke to a crowd of 150,000 people in St. Peter's Square yesterday.
He said that he is "deeply
grateful for the understanding, support and prayers of so many of you, not only
Today is about saying goodbye to the cardinals.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed some of them.
He is spending a quiet day saying farewell to the men who will soon choose his successor.
The next step will be for the cardinals to schedule their conclave.
Meetings are expected to start Monday.
They'll eventually enter the Sistine Chapel and begin the process that will bring the Catholic Church, a new pope.
Benedict says he will leave the public eye and dedicate himself to prayer and mediation.
He will now be referred to as Pope Emeritus.
A new pope will likely be chosen by the end of March.