Pope Benedict critically considered his actions.
Pope Benedict XVI said he resigned his position “for the good of the Church” after prayers and self examination.
The retiring Pope said this at the beginning of his weekly general audience on Wednesday.
“I decided to resign from the ministry that the Lord had entrusted me on April 19, 2005. I did this in full freedom … for the good of the Church after having prayed at length and examined my conscience before God, well aware of the gravity of this act,” Pope Benedict explained to a cheering crowd at the St. Peter’s Square.
“What sustains and illuminates me is the certainty that the Church belongs to Christ whose care and guidance will never be lacking,” he said. “I thank you all for the love and prayer with which you have accompanied me.”
Touched by prayers
The Pope told the crowd of faithfuls that he felt the prayers and love poured out to him, “almost physically,” two days after announcing his resignation.
He announced on Monday that he will resign 8.00 p.m. local time on the last day of February, a decision that has since generated a buzz among the over 1 billion Catholic faithfuls around the world.
“I have felt, almost physically, your prayers in these days which are not easy for me, the strength which the love of the Church and your prayers brings to me,” he said.
“Continue to pray for me and for the future Pope, the Lord will guide us!” he told the thousands of cheering faithfuls at the St. Peter’s Square. “Thank you for your kindness.”
After Pope Benedict XVI retires at the end of February, he will dedicate himself to a life of prayer and study in a Vatican-based monastery. The Pope will first stay in Castel Gandolfo before eventually going back to the Vatican to live in Mater Ecclesiae monastery.
Following his resignation, the College of Cardinals will hold a conclave to choose the next Pope.