It was a solemn Pope Benedict XVI who celebrated his last Mass as Roman Catholic leader in St Peter’s Basilica, but spontaneous applause illustrated the emotion felt by the clergy and congregation.
Thanking everyone the pontiff quickly returned to the job in hand, Ash Wednesday prayers marking the Church’s season of Lent.
Benedict used his homily to again call for unity within the Vatican in barely disguised criticism of recent infighting among clerics.
The German pope urged the faithful to “show the face of the Church and how that face is sometimes disfigured”.
“I am thinking particularly about sins against the unity of the Church, about divisions in the body of the Church,” he said.
“Overcoming individualism and rivalry is a humble sign,” he added during his final public Mass.
Italian newspapers, whose Vatican watchers are weighing every word uttered by Benedict these days, seized on the terms
“disfigured face” and “rivalry” as what the Milan daily Corriere della Sera called “signals hurled at the conclave”.
The next few weeks will see major changes at the Vatican as former Vatican Press Office Director Joaquín Navarro-Valls explained: “For me Benedict XVI, has acted in a surprisingly courageous way. His decision was his own.
Navarro-Valls continued: “But what happens now? The situation is the same as with the death of a Pope. It forces what is technically called the period of the “Sede Vacante” when all those within the Curia, or Vatican administration, have to step down.”
During this period, the Holy See is administered by a regency of the College of Cardinals. After Benedict leaves at the end of this month Church leaders will begin the complicated process of choosing the next Pope.
It is believed the behind-the-scenes battle for the succession has already begun.
Copyright © 2015 euronewsMore about:
- 1EU call for unity as Spain and Portugal enter war of words with Greece
- 2Female pilot jailed in Russia proclaimed a ‘hero of Ukraine’
- 3Indian rapist says women to blame for being sexually assaulted
- 4Interview: The consequences of Boris Nemtsov’s murder
- 5Russia: floral tributes pile up at Nemtsov murder scene
- 1USA: Los Angeles police shoot homeless man dead
- 2Memorial march: “My hope for Russia has died with the death of Boris Nemtsov”
- 3EU call for unity as Spain and Portugal enter war of words with Greece
- 4Estonia votes in election amid concerns over Russia
- 5Skydiver has lucky escape after seizure at 9,000 feet
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Exclusive: CIA and Mossad are behind Boko Haram and ISIL, says Sudan president | euronews, world news
- 3eurovibes - a selection of Europe’s best music talent
- 4English and Spanish among happiest languages | euronews, world news
- 5Greek debt: who will pay if Greece fails? | euronews, world news
- 6Tens of thousands march in Moscow in memory of Boris Nemtsov | euronews, world news
- 7International news | euronews, latest international news
- 8Exclusive: Tsipras promises meritocracy, transparency for Greece, urges Europe to put people first | euronews, world news
- 9Watch: Ukraine MPs in fierce fist fight outside parliament | euronews, world news
- 10Dramatic dashcam video captures Taiwan plane crash | euronews, world news
- 11Data ‘mocks’ claims migrants try for Europe ‘expecting’ sea rescue | euronews, world news
- 12European Union News | euronews: latest breaking news and headlines about European Union
- 13Kosovo emptying out, hopes for independent future exhausted | euronews, world news
- 14‘Blue’ dress causes internet confusion. Is it white and gold? | euronews, world news
- 15Live updates: follow the 2015 Oscars ceremony | euronews, world news
- 16euronews apps : iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Nokia S40, Nokia Asha, Smart TV and Google Glass
- 17Implanted RFID chip controls office access for Stockholm workers | euronews, hi-tech
- 18Barack Obama’s silly Buzzfeed video goes viral | euronews, world news
- 19Elastic road surface reduces motorway noise pollution | euronews, futuris
- 20Canada: Valentine’s Day mass shooting plot foiled say police | euronews, world news
Wires > News
- 07:44 CET Uighur migrants held in Thailand for 11 months take case to court
- 07:08 CET Israel’s Netanyahu to address U.S. Congress in speech that has…
- 07:06 CET India’s ‘smart cities’ would be stupid without disaster strategy
- 06:36 CET Japan PM Abe faces questions about political donations
- 06:28 CET Hillary Clinton may have broken federal record-keeping laws – …
- 04:40 CET Exclusive – Nemtsov killing sign of worsening climate in Russia…
- 04:28 CET North Korea reopens borders after months-long Ebola shutdown
- 03:58 CET Australia to send 300 more troops to Iraq on training mission