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Pope says he’s resigning for the ‘good of church’

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI is telling the faithful in his first public appearance since announcing his resignation that he stepping down for “the good of the church.”

Benedict received a lengthy standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall Wednesday. He was interrupted by applause by the throngs of people, many of whom had tears in their eyes.

At the start of his audience, he repeated in Italian what he had told cardinals Monday in Latin: that he simply didn’t have the strength to continue. He said “I did this in full liberty for the good of the church.”

He asked the faithful “to continue to pray for the pope and the church.”

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