As the curtain falls on Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy, he bade a personal farewell to the College of Cardinals, his closet confidants during his eight years as Bishop of Rome.
He made the following vow to his successor: “Among you there is the new Pope, to whom I today declare my unconditional reverence and obedience.”
The 85-year-old, who resigned his post due to ‘mental and physical frailty’, spoke of a joyous and difficult pontificate: “In these past eight years we have lived with faith – beautiful moments of radiant light in the path of the Church, as well as moments when some clouds darkened the sky.”
The focus now shifts to the Cardinals, who will elect the next pope. Until a decision is reached, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will take charge of Vatican affairs and the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.