Tens of thousands of people where cheering the outgoing Pope at his penultimate Angelus prayer in Rome. Benedict XVI. denounces arrogance and selfishness and calls for the renewal of the Catholic Church and its members. This is a “spiritual battle against the spirit of evil”.
Rome – great cheers and applause of the crowd at St. Peter’s square when Benedict XVI. showed up on the window of his private study / workroom and waved to the pilgrims. The parting Pope spoke his penultimate Angelus prayer as a church leader, tens of thousands of people attended.
In a short speech Benedict XVI called on the Catholic Church and its members to renew. Church and believers should “turn to God again, in response to arrogance and selfishness”. This means a “spiritual battle, because the spirit of evil is trying to distract us from the path of God,” Benedict said standing at the window of the Apostolic Palace.
“In the decisive moments in life, basically in every single moment, we stand at a crossroads: do we want to follow one’s (own) self or God?” The individual interests or the really good?”
The ANSA news agency reported, citing the Vatican, there were about 50,000 people in St. Peter’s square. “Thank you, that you appeared so numerous”, said Benedict. “This is a sign of affection and the intellectual interests that you show me these days.”
Thousand security forces around St. Peter’s square
The 85-year-old had announced his surprise resignation on Monday of last week. As a reason, he called his old age. On February 28 Benedict will leave office, and until Easter a successor is to be determined.
Sundays usually several thousand believers come to the traditional Angelus prayer with the Pope, but in view of the imminent end of his pontificate masses flocked to the Vatican. Many of the faithful had banners and celebrated the Pope with “Benedetto”-calls. Also Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno and the local Council took part in the prayer.
Around a thousand security forces and some 200 volunteers secured the place. The streets around St. Peter’s Square were closed to traffic, additional public transport were in use.