After announcing his resignation earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI gave his final public address on Wednesday, recalling both the “joy” and difficult moments of his papacy. Expressing gratitude for respecting his decision, the pope also said to love the church means having the courage to make difficult choices.
“I have had moments of joy and light, but also moments that haven’t been easy … moments of turbulent seas and rough winds,” he told the audience.
In the personal address, the pope again explained his decision to resign, also thanking cardinals and colleagues for “understanding and respecting this important decision.”
“To love the church means also to have the courage to take difficult, painful decisions, always keeping the good of the church in mind, not oneself,” he said, eliciting applause.
The pope announced his decision a few weeks ago, noting that his “advanced age” left him unsuited to fulfill the role. He was the first to step down in nearly 600 years — following Pope Gregory XII in 1415.
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