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Pope Benedict XVI Tells Crowd He's Resigning For Good Of The Church

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Pope Benedict XVI, in his first public appearance since resigning, presides over Ash Wednesday mass. Pope Benedict XVI, in his first public appearance since resigning, presides over Ash Wednesday mass.
VATICAN CITY -

Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance Wednesday since announcing his surprise decision to step down as the head of the Catholic church.

The Pope told thousands of people who gathered for his weekly address that he was resigning for the good of the church, repeating what he told cardinals on Monday, that he simply does not have the strength to continue.

News of the Pope's resignation continued to dominate headlines in Rome and around the world

Lines wrapped around St. Peter's as people waited for hours just to get a glimpse of Benedict in his final days as Pontiff.

Benedict presided over Ash Wednesday mass to mark the official start of the Catholic Lent season. The service was moved to St. Peter's Basilica at the last minute from its usual location at a church in Rome's Aventine Hill

The Vatican says the change was made to accommodate the crowds.

The Pope's resignation has set in motion the process for electing the new Pontiff which will include a closed door conclave in the coming weeks where the College of Cardinals will pick the new Pope.

The Pope's final day will include a morning farewell ceremony with his cardinals and then he will travel by helicopter to his summer Papal residence in Castel Gandolfo, Rome.

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