Many in the crowd chanted “Viva il Papa (Long Live the Pope)” and waved banners as the Pontiff spoke from the window. Most of his address was in Spanish, although he thanked the crowd in several languages.
Despite his lingual acuity, many observers couldn’t help but notice the 85-year old is a shadow of his former self, the years and perhaps several missteps and scandals having caught up with him. In his penultimate Angelus, he told the crowd of his difficulties making important decisions, with some noting he seemed “tired, moved, perplexed, uncertain and insecure."
The Pope will hold one more Sunday mass at noon on 24 February and then have his final general audience on 27 February.
The next day at 8:00 pm his resignation becomes official and he will board a helicopter and fly to the Papal retreat Castel Gandolfo south of Rome, where he will await the renovation of a former convent in the Vatican where he will spend his remaining days.