A photo blog of world events by Sacbee.com Assistant Director of Multimedia Tim Reese.
Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed
February 27, 2013
Pope recalls 'joy,' difficulties in final audience

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI bid an emotional farewell Wednesday on the eve of his retirement, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy, but also times of difficulty when "it seemed like the Lord was sleeping."

Some 150,000 people, many waving banners proclaiming "Grazie!" flooded St. Peter's Square, eager to bear witness to the final hours of a papacy that will go down in history as the first in 600 years to end in resignation rather than death.

Benedict basked in the emotional send-off, taking a long victory lap around the square in an open-sided car, and stopping to kiss and bless half a dozen babies. Seventy cardinals, some tearful, sat in solemn attendance -- and gave him a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

Benedict then made a quick exit, forgoing the meet-and-greet session that typically follows his weekly general audience, as if to not prolong the goodbye.

(30 images)




Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire. AP / Gregorio Borgia
pope_final_lap_02.jpg
The full moon is seen above the St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, early Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI has changed the rules of the conclave that will elect his successor, allowing cardinals to move up the start date if all of them arrive in Rome before the usual 15-day transition between pontificates. Benedict signed a legal document, issued Monday, with some line-by-line changes to the 1996 Vatican law governing the election of a new pope. It is one of his last acts as pope before resigning Thursday. AP / Dmitry Lovetsky
pope_final_lap_03.jpg
Faithful gather during Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Oded Balilty
pope_final_lap_04.jpg
Faithful wait under a large banner for the start of Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Oded Balilty
pope_final_lap_05.jpg
Faithful keep themselves warm as they gather for Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Oded Balilty
pope_final_lap_06.jpg
Nuns attend Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Oded Balilty
pope_final_lap_07.jpg
Faithful gather for Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Oded Balilty
pope_final_lap_08.jpg
Faithful gather for Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Oded Balilty
pope_final_lap_09.jpg
Faithful gather for Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Oded Balilty
pope_final_lap_10.jpg
A view of the crowd in St. Peter's Square during Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Andrew Medichini
pope_final_lap_11.jpg
Police officers control faithful as they gather in St. Peter's Square to attend Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Andrew Medichini
pope_final_lap_12.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI is driven through the crowd in his pope-mobile as he arrives to celebrate his last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Andrew Medichini
pope_final_lap_13.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI waves to tens of thousands of pilgrims and well-wishers as the Popemobile transports him through St. Peter's Square ahead of his final general audience Wednesday, February 27, 2013, the eve of his retirement as leader of the world's Roman Catholics at St. Peter's Square, Vatican City. MCT / Michael Kappeler/ DPA
pope_final_lap_14.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI, white figure sitting in the center of the stage, attends his last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Andrew Medichini
pope_final_lap_15.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI is seen on a giant screen during his last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Andrew Medichini
pope_final_lap_16.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI waves to faithful during his final general audience in St.Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Gregorio Borgia
pope_final_lap_17.jpg
Cardinals applaud during Pope Benedict XVI's final general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Gregorio Borgia
pope_final_lap_18.jpg
A man cries during Pope Benedict XVI's general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Gregorio Borgia
pope_final_lap_19.jpg
A view of the crowd in St. Peter's Square during Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Andrew Medichini
pope_final_lap_20.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Luca Bruno
pope_final_lap_21.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI waves from his pope-mobile as he is driven through the crowd during his last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Dmitry Lovetsky
pope_final_lap_22.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI waves from his pope-mobile as he is driven through the crowd during his last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Dmitry Lovetsky
pope_final_lap_23.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square for the final time before retiring, waving to tens of thousands of people who have gathered to bid him farewell. AP / Gregorio Borgia
pope_final_lap_24.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Luca Bruno
pope_final_lap_25.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Luca Bruno
pope_final_lap_26.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI holds a baby during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Gregorio Borgia
pope_final_lap_27.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI kisses a baby handed up to him by his secretary George Ganswein as he greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 for the final time before retiring, waving to tens of thousands of people who have gathered to bid him farewell. AP / Luca Bruno
pope_final_lap_28.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI waves from his pope-mobile as he is driven through the crowd during his last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. AP / Dmitry Lovetsky
pope_final_lap_29.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI is driven through the crowd as he greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 for the final time before retiring, waving to tens of thousands of people who have gathered to bid him farewell. AP / Luca Bruno
pope_final_lap_30.jpg
In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, faithful leave St. Peter's Square after Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI has recalled moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty in an emotional, final general audience in St. Peter's Square before retiring. Benedict thanked his cardinals, colleagues and ordinary faithful for their support and for respecting his decision to become the first pope in 600 years to resign. AP / Dmitry Lovetsky

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.