Vive il papa. Prior to giving what is likely to be his last public Mass as pope, Benedict XVI said on Wednesday he had resigned for the “good of the church” and he thanked his supporters for their “love and support.” He said he is resigning due to declining health and because he could no longer perform his duties as effectively, but said he hoped the prayers of the church would sustain him. Benedict, 85, announced on Monday that he would resign effective February 28, making him the first pope in nearly 600 years to step aside. The Ash Wednesday mass had to move to St. Peter’s Basilica to accommodate the large crowds.
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