You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

World

  • 280 missing in ferry disaster, mostly teens
    MOKPO, South Korea – A ferry carrying 462 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea’s southern coast on Wednesday, leaving more than 280 people missing despite a
  • Russian FM: Russia still to meet with Ukraine
    Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Russia is still planning to meet with Ukrainian officials at an international conference in Geneva on Thursday.
  • Sub makes 2nd dive to search for Malaysian plane
    As a robotic submarine dove into the ocean to look for lost Flight 370, angry Chinese relatives stormed out of a teleconference meeting Wednesday to protest the Malaysian government for not addressing them in person.
Advertisement

‘Simple pilgrim’ Benedict vows loyalty to next pope

– As bells tolled and the clock struck 8, the brass-studded wooden doors swung shut Thursday at this palace in the Italian hills, marking an end to Benedict XVI’s papacy and the start of his final journey as a “simple pilgrim.”

Capping a day of tearful farewells that included an extraordinary pledge of obedience to his successor, Benedict entered history as the first pope in 600 years to resign – leaving the Catholic Church in unprecedented limbo and ending a pontificate shaped by struggles to move beyond clerical sex abuse scandals and reawaken Christianity in an indifferent world.

On Benedict’s last day, the mood was vastly different inside the Vatican than at Castel Gandolfo, the 17th-century papal retreat set in the hills south of Rome, where he will spend the first two months of his retirement.

At the seat of the popes, Benedict’s staff bade the pontiff goodbye in scenes of dignified solemnity, with Swiss Guards in full regalia and prelates kneeling to kiss his papal ring one last time.

In the countryside, well-wishers jammed the hilltop town’s main square, shouting “Viva il Papa!” and waving the yellow-and-white flags of the Holy See. Cheers went up as Benedict, 85, stepped onto the palace balcony and, arms outstretched, declared his papacy was at its end.

“I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this Earth,” he said. Then giving a final blessing, he declared: “Grazie e buona notte” – “Thank you and good night” in Italian.

It was a bookend to a papacy that began April 19, 2005, with a similarly meek speech delivered from the loggia overlooking St. Peter’s Square, where the newly elected Benedict said he was a “simple humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.”

Over his eight-year papacy, Benedict tried to set the church on a more traditional course, convinced that all the ills afflicting it – sexual abuse, dwindling numbers of priests and empty pews – were a result of a misreading of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Advertisement