Pope calls on Church to 'renew' and 'refocus' in penultimate public blessing
VATICAN CITY (AFP, AP) - Pope Benedict XVI called on the Church and its faithful on Sunday to "renew" and "refocus on God by disowning pride and egoism" in his penultimate Angelus prayer before he steps down.
"The Church calls on all its members to renew themselves... which constitutes a fight, a spiritual battle, because the evil spirit wants us to deviate from the road towards God," he said from his balcony overlooking tens of thousands of faithful gathered in St Peter's Square.
Local authorities said a crowd of more than 100,000 people had turned out to see the 85-year-old Pope, who announced on Monday that he would step down on Feb 28 after eight years in office due to advanced age.
Many of the faithful waved flags and held up banners saying "grazie" or "danke", the words for "thank you" in Italian and the Pope's native German.