Pope says resigning for the 'good of church', does not have strength to continue
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Looking tired but serene, Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was stepping down for "the good of the church," speaking in his first public appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement of his resignation.
The 85-year-old Benedict basked in more than a minute-long standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall for his traditional Wednesday general audience. He was interrupted by applause by the thousands of people, many of whom had tears in their eyes.
A huge banner reading "Grazie Santita" (Thank you Your Holiness) was strung up at the back of the hall.
Benedict appeared wan and spoke very softly, but his eyes twinkled with joy at the flock's warm and heartfelt welcome. He repeated in Italian what he had told his cardinals Monday in Latin: that he simply didn't have the strength to continue.