Benedict XVI gave a brief and emotional final farewell this evening, moments after arriving to the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo where he will stay for several weeks before taking up residence in a monastery within the Vatican walls.
After 8 p.m., he said he will be simply “a pilgrim who is beginning the last part of his pilgrimage on earth.”
“Thank you, thank you from my heart. I am happy to be here with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your friendship that does me so much good, thank you for your friendship, for caring,” he told the cheering crowds from the central balcony of the residence.
“You know that today is different from others … as of 8 p.m., I will no longer be the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. I will simply be a pilgrim who is beginning the last part of his pilgrimage on earth.”
“But with my heart, my love, my prayer, with all my interior strength, I will work for the common good and the good of the Church and all humanity,” he continued, speaking without a script.
“And I feel greatly supported by your affection. Let us move forward together with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world.”
“I will now impart upon you all my Apostolic Blessing.
Thank you and good night. Thank you all!”