Resigning pope to impart wisdom after emotional mass

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Pope Benedict XVIPHOTO:AFP
Pope Benedict XVIPHOTO:AFP

Pope Benedict XVI will address Rome's parish priests talking about his personal experiences as a young church reformer ahead of his stepping down at the end of the month, the Vatican said.

The meeting comes a day after emotional scenes at his final public papal mass in St Peter's Basilica, with observers saying his speech to priests will be akin to a "theological testament", forming part of the 85-year-old's legacy.

The Vatican said he would tell the meeting, of his experiences at the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, which sought to define the role of the church in the modern world and changed the face of Catholicism.

Since then, Benedict, who says his advancing age is preventing him from keeping up with the modern world, has become far more conservative.

He has attempted to turn back the clock on more leftist currents in Catholicism, while seeking during his eight-year pontificate to rekindle the religious fervour of the time.

Thousands of tearful priests, nuns and ordinary faithful applauded the pope at the Wednesday mass. Cardinals thanked the outgoing pontiff for his service, doffing their mitres as a mark of respect.

The pope waved and smiled at the crowd, appearing relieved following his momentous announcement on Monday, which will make him only the second pope to resign in the Church's 2,000-year history and the first to do so in 700 years.AFP



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