By Jane Nambi
Pope Benedict XVI yesterday was bade farewell by masses of people and the Vatican officially and delivered his last speech as pope before his official departure today.
He talked of “rough seas” that marked his papacy “when it seemed that the Lord was sleeping.” “Thank you, I am very moved,” Pope Benedict told a crowd of more than 150,000 people in St Peter’s Square.
Upon his retirement, Pope Benedict will assume the title of “pope emeritus.” During his speech, he said, “There were moments of joy and light but also moments that were not easy … there were moments, as there were throughout the history of the Church, when the seas were rough and the wind blew against us and it seemed that the Lord was sleeping.”
He went on to add saying, “I took this step in the full knowledge of its gravity and rarity but with a profound serenity of spirit.”
The pope talked of being too old and weak and also talked about the crises faced by the Church like charges of child abuse by priests and a leak of confidential Vatican documents showing corruption and rivalry among Vatican officials.
Pope Benedict announced he would retire today, February 28th on February 11, a decision which surprised many.
Talking about his decision to retire, Sister Carmel, from a city north of Rome said, “He did what he had to do in his conscience before God. This is a day in which we are called to trust in the Lord, a day of hope. There is no room for sadness here today. We have to pray, there are many problems in the Church but we have to trust in the Lord.”
Today at exactly 8:00pm (Rome time), the pope is expected to officially step down and the conclave to begin its search for a new pope.