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Pope Benedict XVI bids farewell to public life

Pope Benedict XVI greeted the faithful for the last time as pope, telling well-wishers gathered at the Vatican's vacation retreat that he is beginning the final stage of his life as a 'simple pilgrim,' hours before he became the first pontiff in 600 years to resign.

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Pope Benedict XVI, white figure sitting at the center of the stage, celebrates his last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff 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. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Photo by Alessandra Tarantino
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