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Images: Pope Benedict XVI's final public appearance

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Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 for the final time before retiring, waving to tens of thousands of people who have gathered to bid him farewell Benedict was driven around the square in an open-sided vehicle, surrounded by bodyguards. At one point he stopped to kiss a baby handed up to him by his secretary.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI gestures during his final general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI has recalled moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty in an emotional, final general audience in St. Peter's Square before retiring.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

Gallery Image

Pope Benedict XVI reads a message during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI has recalled moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty in an emotional, final general audience in St. Peter's Square before retiring.

Associated Press

Priests hold a banner reading in Spanish "The greatness of a man in the humility of a pope" St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI is preparing for his final general audience, the weekly appointment he kept with the faithful and tourists to teach them about the Catholic faith.

Associated Press

A faithful cries during Pope Benedict XVI's general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI reads a message during his final general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI has recalled moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty in an emotional, final general audience in St. Peter's Square before retiring.

Associated Press

A man holds a cross as he stands in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI is preparing for his final general audience, the weekly appointment he kept with the faithful and tourists to teach them about the Catholic faith.

Associated Press

Faithful gather for Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI leaves after celebrating his last general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI is flanked by his personal secretary George Gaenswein as he leaves at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI greeted the Catholic masses in St. Peter's Square Wednesday for the last time before retiring, making several rounds of the square as crowds cheered wildly and stopping to kiss a half-dozen children brought up to him by his secretary.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 for the final time before retiring, waving to tens of thousands of people who have gathered to bid him farewell Benedict was driven around the square in an open-sided vehicle, surrounded by bodyguards.

Associated Press

Faithful gather during Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI is driven through the crowd as he greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 for the final time before retiring, waving to tens of thousands of people who have gathered to bid him farewell.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives for his last general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Tens of thousands of people toting banners saying "Thank you!" jammed St. Peter's Square on Wednesday to bid farewell to Pope Benedict XVI at his final general audience, the appointment he kept each week to teach the world about the Catholic faith.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI waves from his pope-mobile as he is driven through the crowd during his last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI has recalled moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty in an emotional, final general audience in St. Peter's Square before retiring. Benedict thanked his cardinals, colleagues and ordinary faithful for their support and for respecting his decision to become the first pope in 600 years to resign.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI greeted the Catholic masses in St. Peter's Square Wednesday for the last time before retiring, making several rounds of the square as crowds cheered wildly and stopping to kiss a half-dozen children brought up to him by his secretary.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI opens his arms during his final general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI is driven through the crowd in his pope-mobile as he arrives to celebrate his last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

Faithful are reflected in the roof of Pope Benedict XVI's pope-mobile as he arrives to celebrate his last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI greeted the Catholic masses in St. Peter's Square Wednesday for the last time before retiring, making several rounds of the square as crowds cheered wildly and stopping to kiss a half-dozen children brought up to him by his secretary.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI is driven through the crowd as he greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 for the final time before retiring, waving to tens of thousands of people who have gathered to bid him farewell.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Tens of thousands of people toting banners saying "Thank you!" jammed St. Peter's Square on Wednesday to bid farewell to Pope Benedict XVI at his final general audience, the appointment he kept each week to teach the world about the Catholic faith.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI kisses a baby handed up to him by his secretary George Ganswein as he greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI greeted the Catholic masses in St. Peter's Square Wednesday for the last time before retiring, making several rounds of the square as crowds cheered wildly and stopping to kiss a half-dozen children brought up to him by his secretary.

Associated Press

A view of the crowd in St. Peter's Square during Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI leaves after celebrating his final general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

A view of the crowd in St. Peter's Square during Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional send-off Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI waves to faithful during his final general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI has recalled moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty in an emotional, final general audience in St. Peter's Square before retiring.

Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI waves to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI greeted the Catholic masses in St. Peter's Square Wednesday for the last time before retiring, making several rounds of the square as crowds cheered wildly and stopping to kiss a half-dozen children brought up to him by his secretary.

Associated Press

Gallery posted: 2/27/2013 10:05 AM

About this Gallery

Wednesday marked Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire.
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