Pope Benedict’s Closing Act
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Benedict XVI is in the final hours of his papacy.
At 5 p.m. local time the pope will leave the palace for the final time as pontiff and fly by helicopter to the papal retreat. Three hours later, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign.
In an unexpected speech to cardinals today, the pope promised “unconditional reverence and obedience” to his successor.
Benedict urged them to work in unity so that the College of Cardinals is “like an orchestra” where “agreement and harmony” can be reached.