Outgoing Pope Benedict XVI adopted a more personal tone for his farewell audience on Wednesday, one day before his resignation of the papacy becomes official.
“I have had moments of joy and light, but also moments that haven’t been easy,” he said to a reported crowd of 150,000 people gathered at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. “Moments of turbulent seas and rough winds.”
According to CBS News, Benedict also marked the occasion by taking an especially long lap around the square in his “Popemobile” and blessing six children handed to him by an aide.
Benedict who announced his resignation on Feb. 11, reiterated his argument that the decision was made after careful consideration.
“To love the church means also to have the courage to take difficult, painful decisions, always keeping the good of the church in mind, not oneself,” he said, while urging his followers to support his eventual successor, who will be selected by a group of 115 cardinals in a process that will begin in March.
The Italian newspaper La Republica reported on Feb. 22 that Benedict’s resignation was tied to findings that several Vatican officials had been subject to blackmail at the hands of people with whom they had associated in “a worldly nature.”
Traditionally, whoever is elected the next Pope would decide how to deal with whistleblowers, but Benedict issued an edict before leaving his position that anyone who breaches the Vatican’s oath of secrecy be excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.
Though Benedict is leaving the papacy, Benedict is not leaving all of its trappings. Instead of going back to his given name, Joseph Ratzinger, CNN reported on Tuesday that he will retain his papal name, and will remain “pope emeritus, emeritus pope or Roman pontifex emeritus” and prefer he be addressed as “his holiness.”
Watch CBS’ report on Benedict’s farewell address, aired Wednesday, below.