POPE BENEDICT MAKES LAST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict has made his public goodbye.

The pope addressed tens of thousands of people in and around St. Peter’s Square today, in his final general audience before stepping down tomorrow.

The pope told the crowd he has had “moments of joy and light, but also moments that haven’t been easy.” But he says, “To love the church means also to have the courage to take difficult, painful decisions.”

The pope was given a thundering applause and took a long victory lap around the square in an open-sided car.

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