Pope Benedict had said he decided to retire after realizing that, at 85, he simply didn’t have the “strength of mind or body” to carry on. Today is the final day of his eight year Papacy which took a dramatic turn when he announced two weeks ago that he would step down by the end of the month. He will meet with 115 cardinals this morning for a final time. The focus of the meeting will be on the election of a new pope.
Most of the cardinals from around the world will meet with Pope Benedict XVI, before he flies out with helicopter to the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.
Pope Benedict XVI will stay at Castel Gandolfo for about two weeks, while his apartment inside Vatican City is set up. The apartment is believed to be in a monastery.
Pope Benedict who becomes the Bishop of Rome Emeritus from today thanked the people for respecting his decision to resign on grounds of failing strength and ailing health, but more important, reminding them that “it was time for a younger man to lead the Catholic Church into the future.