Even as he met with the cardinals on his last day as Pope Benedict XVI, promising “unconditional respect and obedience” to his heir and encouraging the cardinals to “work like an orchestra” harmonizing for the excellent of the cathedral, the discord was obvious.
On Friday, the Vatican verified reviews that it had requested wiretaps on the mobile phones of some Vatican authorities as aspect of a leaking research. Other cardinals were progressively frank about the problems of government during Benedict’s papacy.
In his final blessing to the faithful, who gathered outside the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo where he will live for several months, Benedict appeared tired, and even relieved, saying that from now on “I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth.”
His towering predecessor, John Paul II, wasted away with Parkinson’s disease; Benedict, whose life’s work was aimed at reconciling faith and reason, opted for a short farewell.
“Good night, and thank you,” he said in Italian to the boisterous but small crowds at Castel Gandolfo, just over two weeks after he shocked the world on Feb. 11 by announcing his retirement, the first in the modern history of the church.