VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict asked the faithful to pray for him and for the next pope, addressing a crowded St. Peter’s Square in his penultimate today address before becoming the first pontiff in centuries to resign.
The 85-year-old Benedict, who will resign on Feb. 28, thanked them in several languages.
Speaking in Spanish, he told the crowd, which the Vatican said numbered more than 50,000, to continue praying for him and for the next pope.
It was not clear why the pope chose Spanish to make the only specific reference to his upcoming resignation in his Sunday address.
A number of cardinals have said they would be open to the possibility of a pope from the developing world, be it Latin America, Africa or Asia, as opposed to another from Europe, where the Church is in crisis and polarised.